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'T^Litiuif.rt \t'>i<to,i tt Soiu. 

SIK MAODONALH S rKI*IIKXSO\. 

FnVSDKU OK THK KasT InDIAX KaILWAY. 




NOTE TO THE READER 

The paper in tKb volume is biitde or the 
inner mar^ns are extremdly narrow. 

We have bound or rebound the volume 
utilizing the best means possible* 

PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE 




p/Sf 



7 



TO 

r BBOTHBB 0FFI0BB8 AND FELLOW WORKMEN ON THE 

BASt INDIAN RAILWAY, PAST AND PRESENT. 

THIS WORK 18 DEDICATED. 

G. H. 



J.. pf'sf 



TO 

MT BROTHER OFFICERS AND FELLOW WORKMBK OK THR 

BASt INDIAN RAILWAT, PAST AND PRESENT. 

THIS WORK IS DEDICATED. 

G. H. 



PREFACE. 



It is not everyone who realizes what a 
great undertaking the East Indian Railway 
is, or what it has done and is doing for the 
people and the trade of India and parti- 
cularly of Calcutta. Yet the author hardly 
ventures to expect that this endeavour, to 
outline the more important events in its 
history, will prove attractive to the general 
reader, or help him to an appreciation of the 
facts. 

It is chiefly for those who are or have 
been associated with or employed on the 
East Indian Railway that this book has been 
written, and if these, as well as those who 
enter its service in the future, find something 
in its pages to interest them, the writer will 
be rewarded. 

The author would only add that in 
attempting the work he has been prompted 
by a feeling that unless something was done 
now, to place on record facts which are so 
easily forgotten and so soon buried in obli- 
vion, the opportunity would be lost. No one 
can be more conscious than he is of the many 
defects and imperfections of his effort, and 
had anyone else evinced a desire to undertake 
the task, he would not have set it h\m^Q\£. 



PREFACE. 



It is not everyone who realizes what a 
great undertaking the East Indian Railway 
is, or what it has done and is doing for the 
people and the trade of India and parti- 
cularly of Calcutta. Yet the author hardly 
ventures to expect that this endeavour, to 
outline the more important events in its 
history, will prove attractive to the general 
reader, or help him to an appreciation of the 
facts. 

It is chiefly for those who are or have 
been associated with or employed on the 
East Indian Railway that this book has been 
written, and if these, as well as those who 
enter its service in the future, find something 
in its pages to interest them, the writer will 
be rewarded. 

The author would only add that in 
attempting the work he has been prompted 
by a feeling that unless something was done 
now, to place on record facts which are so 
easily forgotten and so soon buried in obli- 
vion, the opportunity would be lost. No one 
can be more conscious than he is of the many 
defects and imperfections of his effort, and 
had anyone else evinced a desire to undertake 
the task, he would not have set it himself* 



VI PRBFACB. 



In saying this he hopes it will be distinctly 
understood that the production is on no sense 
official and no one but the author is in any 
way responsible for it. 

His thanks are due to Mr. H. Wood, 
Secretary to the Agent in Calcutta, to whom 
he is indebted for the two chapters on the 
Provident Fund and the Hill School ; to 
Mr. P. A. M. Nash, District Locomotive 
Superintendent, who kindly furnished the 
account of the Jamalpur workshops ; to 
Mr. John Strachan, late Locomotive Super- 
intendent, and to other friends whose assist- 
ance is acknowledged in the pages of the 
book. 

Calcutta, May 1906. G. HUDDLESTON. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I— Page. 

Formation of the East Indian Railway — Original 
Idea to connect Calcutta with Delhi — The First 
Contract — Commencement of Construction — 
Opening of Line as far as Baneegunge ... 1 

CHAPTER II— 

Progress . of Construction — Effect of the Mutiny — 
Visit of Mr. A. M. Rendel to India ... 17 

CHAPTER Ill- 
Opening of the Railway to Rajmahal and subse- 
quently to Delhi — Retirement of Mr. George 
Turnbull, the First Railway Engineer in India— 
The Construction of the Chord Line decided 
upon — Unexpected Growth of Traffic, followed 
by Complaints of Want of Adequate Facilities... 28 

CHAPTER IV— 

The Alignment of the East Indian Railway, and 
other matters ..• ... ••• ... 48 

CHAPTER V— 

1'rade Depression— Mr. A. M. Rendel visits India 
again and criticises the Working of the East 
Indian Railway — Establishment of a Provident 
Fund ... ... •.. ,„ „. 57 

CHAPTER VI— 

Opening of the Chord Line followed by a Temporary 
Slump in Traffic— The Bengal Famine of 1873-4— 
Reductions in Rates— Coal exported from Cal- 
cutta — Analysis of Statistics introduced ... 63 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VII— , Pagi. 

Visit of the Prince of Wales to India — Reductions 
in Rates — Economies in Working — The Madras 
Famine and Shortage of Stock — General Strachej 
visits India — The Qiridih Collieries — Prosperity 
of the Undertaking ... ... ... ... 72 

CHAPTER VIII— 

Opening of the Rajputana Railway leads to Competi- 
tion between Calcutta and Bombay — The Views 
of Government on the Question — The Position 
defined by Mr. Crawford, Chairman of the East 
Indian Railway ... ... ... ... 89 

CHAPTER IX— 

Negotiations preceding the Purchase of the East 
Indian Railway by Government ... ••» 101 

CHAPTER X— 

Questions before the Board after the Purchase of 
the Railway by Government — Retrospect of the 
Position of the Company at the time — Reduction 
of Third Class Fares, and other matters ... 106 

CHAPTER XI— 

Growth of the Coal Trade in 1883— The Question of 
Working the East India Railway by State or 
Company Management — Agitation in Calcutta 
regarding Construction of the Grand Chord — 
Retirement of Sir Bradford Leslie — Death of 
Mr. Crawford ••• ••• ... ... 123 

CHAPTER XII— 

Appointment of General Sir Richard Strachey as 
Chairman— His visit to India ... ... 136 

CHAPTER XIII— 

The Grand Chord Line ..« ... ... 141 

CHAPTER XIV— 

The Jherriah Coal-field ... ... ... 145 

CHAPTER XV— 

Coal Rates »«• ••• «.. ... ... 151 



OONTRNTS. IX 

CHAPTER XVI— Page. 

Growth of the Coal Traffic .^ ... ... 160 

CHAPTER XVII— 

The Kidderpore Docks ••• ... ... 169 

CHAPTER XVIII— 

Train Service and Working Facilities— The Ques- 
tion of Wagon Supply ••• ... ... 176 

CHAPTER XIX— 

Some Further Remarks on Competition and Rates 184 

CHAPTER XX— 

Third Class Passengers ... ••• ... 190 

CHAPTER XXI— 

Proposed Central Station in Calcutta ... ... 196 

CHAPTER XXII— 

Provident Institatiop ... ••• ••• 202 

CHAPTER XXIII— 

Hill School ... ... ... ... 808 

CHAPTER XXIV— 

General Growth of Traffic ... ••• ••• 814 

CHAPTER XXV— 

Various Projects for dealing with the Export Coal 
Trade, and other matters ... ... ... 880 

CHAPTER XXVI— 

Statistics ... ... ••• ••« •«. 829 

CHAPTER XXVII— 

The Jamalpur Workshops ••« ... ... 240 

CHAPTER XXVIII— 

Outbreak of Plague — Immunity of E. I. R from 
Serious Accidents — The Delhi Durbar~Mr. 
T. Robertson's Enquiry into Indian Railway 
Working— Removal of Carriage Shops to 
Lillooah ... •- •- 262 

CHAPTER XXIX- 

The East Indian Railway under Two Chairman, %A;^ 



HISTORY 

OF 

THE EAST INDIAN RAILWAY. 



CHAPTER I. 

Formation op the East Indian Railway — 
Original Idea to connect Calcutta 
WITH Delhi — The First Contract — 
Commencement op Construction — Open- 
ing OP Line as par as Raneegunge. 

In May, 1845, or about twenty years after 
the construction of the first raikoad in 
England, the East Indian Railway Company, 
was organised. The earliest report of the 
Directors to the Shareholders was not made, 
however, until nearly two years later ; the 
interval having been passed in negotiations 
with the Honourable East India Company, 
and in the preparation of estimates of cost 
and of traflfic, as well as in a purvey of the 
country through which the proposed line 
would pass. 

At this time, the Chairman was Sir George 
Larpent, the Deputy Chairman, Mr. Bazett 
D. Colvin, and the Managing Director, 

H, BIR 1 



2 HISTORY OF THE M. I. RAILWAY. 

Mr. R. Macdonald Stephenson. Of these, Mr., 
afterwards, Sir R. Macdonald Stephenson, 
may be said to have been the founder of 
the Company, for he it was who first in- 
troduced the idea of raihoads in India, 
and advocated the construction of the East 
Indian Une almost along the same route that 
it now traverses. 

It was in July, 1845, that Mr. Macdonald 
Stephenson, accompanied by three well qual- 
ified assistants, proceeded to Bengal and on 
arrival in Calcutta commenced, in the 
Board's words, " with diligence and discre- 
tion which cannot be too highly commended, 
to survey the line from Calcutta to Delhi, 
through Mirzapore, and so great and per- 
severing were the exertions of himself and 
StaflF, that, in April, 1846, the surveys of the 
whole line were completed ; important sta- 
tistical information obtained and an elaborate 
report transmitted to your Directors in 
London." All trace of this report, excepting 
only the statistics of cost and estimates of 
traflSc has been lost, but it strongly impressed 
the Board with the conviction that a Kne 
from Calcutta to Delhi not only possessed 
political advantages of the highest order, 
but that it would also prove a success as a 
commercial speculation. The statistical in- 
formation obtained by Mr. Stephenson, 
showed that although the cost of introduc- 
ing an entirely new system of locomotion in 
a country such as India, was necessarily 



PRBLIMINAKY NEGOTIATIONS. 6 

subject to some uncertainty, yet, there were 
good grounds for anticipating that the 
maximum expenditure on a double line of 
railway from Calcutta to Delhi, through 
Mirzapore, assuming that the Government 
would grant the necessary land without 
charge, would not exceed £15,000 per mile. 
It was also calculated that without any 
increase of the existing traffic, that is to say, 
of the traffic then forwarded by river and 
road, a large dividend might be looked for. 

From the outset, the Court of Directors of 
the Honourable East India Company, shared 
with the Directors of the East Indian Railway 
Company, the view that the benefit to be 
derived by India from the introduction of 
a railroad system was beyond question, but 
circumstances in the political and monetary 
state of India were constantly changing, 
while there was no certainty of the London 
share market. Very great caution was there- 
fore needed in conducting the preliminary 
negotiations for the construction of so great 
a national work, involving so large a capital 
outlay, in a country so distant and at the 
time so little known. 

Terms were proposed in the first ins- 
tance, which would now seem to have been 
sufficiently liberal, though the then Board 
did not think so, and ultimately obtained sub- 
stantial modifications. The first conclusions 
of the East India Company, and what 
they were prepared to do towards t\vei 



4 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

introduction of a railway system in India^ 
may however be summarised as follows : — 

1st. That it was deemed of great im- 
portance to connect the seat of the Supreme 
Government of India with the North- West 
Provinces. 

2nd. That provided no serious diflBculty^ 
arising out of the physical character of the 
country, was found to exist, the line of the 
first Railway in India should be from Calcutta 
to Delhi through Mirzapore. 

3rd. That the Honourable East India 
Company were prepared to sanction the 
construction of two sections of that line, 
one in the Lower and the other in the Upper 
Provinces ; to grant the land for the Railway 
free of all cost for ninety-nine years ; to 
advance interest at four per cent, per annum 
for fifteen years, on the capital to be employed 
on these sections not exceeding £3,000,000 
sterling ; to commence paying such interest 
so soon as the contract should be arranged, 
and to receive repayment thereof when 
the profits of the line should exceed four 
per cent. 

After much correspondence these terms 
were modified, the chief points conceded by 
the East India Company being that the rate 
of interest should be raised from 4 to 5 per 
cent., and that the term during which this 
interest would be paid should be raised from 1 5 
to 25 years. The revised terms were accept- 
ed by the Directors " with a grateful sense 



FIRST BOARD OF AGKNCY. 



of the liberal manner in which they had 
been treated by the East India Company," 
and the belief was expressed that the 
undertaking ** whilst it will prove a great 
blessing to the Empire, will afford the means 
of a safe and profitable investment to indivi- 
duals." 

It should here be mentioned, that other 
interests conflicting with the East Indian 
Railway Company had at this time to be 
considered; another Company had been 
formed, shortly after the East Indian, known 
as the '* Great Western of Bengal Railway," 
for the purpose of constructing a line from 
Calcutta to Rajmahal, to be carried over a 
portion of the projected main line of the 
East Indian Railway, and entering into com- 
petition with the branch to Rajmahal, con- 
templated by that railway. It was consi- 
dered expedient to amalgamate the interests 
of the two companies, and this was done on 
terms unnecessary to detail. 

Towards the end of 1 847, the Board having 
taken into consideration the arrangements 
best calculated to give effect to the Company's 
operations in India, came to the conclusion, 
that "the interests of the undertaking would 
be best consulted by the appointment in 
India of a Committee of gentlemen, independ- 
ent of local interest or connection, and who 
should be entirely and wholly subject to the 
control of the Board in London," and in 
pursuance of this policy two gentlemen " of 



6 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

talent and experience " (Messrs. Adams and 
Beeston) were appointed to act, conjointly 
with Mr. Stephenson, as their representa- 
tives in India, and these three sailed to India 
on the 20th September, 1847, accompanied 
by a staff of Engineers carefully selected by 
the Company's Consulting Engineer, Mr. 
James Rendel, the father of the present 
Consulting Engineer, Sir A. M. Rendel. 

So far, once preliminary negotiations had 
been settled, it had been plain sailing, but 
unfortunately difficulties now arose which 
took some time to overcome. Various docu- 
ments both anonymous and otherwise were 
circulated, and advertised in the public news- 
papers and elsewhere, in which endeavours 
were made to prove that the proposed line 
could not pay, certain of the Directors 
resigned, and some of the proprietors delayed 
settlement of calls on their shares, with 
the result that financial difficulties followed, 
and the staff sent out to India had to be 
recalled. 

In the meantime, there were renewed 
negotiations with the Honourable East 
India Company, which took up a couple of 
years, but ultimately on the 17th of August, 
1849, a contract was come to between the^ 
East India Company of the one part and the 
East Indian Railway Company of the other 
part, in which the two agreed to co-operate 
in the construction " of a line of Railway 
from Calcutta towards the Upper Provinces,'^ 



ORIGINAL CONTKAOT. 7 

on certain conditions, the most important 
being : — 

(1). That the East Indian Railway Com- 
pany should pay into the Treasury of the 
East India Company, £1,000,000. 

(2). That the East India Company should 
select the route and direction of a line of rail- 
way to be constructed as an experimental line ; 
such line to commence at Calcutta or with- 
in 10 miles of Calcutta, and to take such a 
direction as to form part of a line either to 
Mirzapore or to Rajmahal, at the option of 
the East India Company. Such selected line 
to be completed by the Railway Company, 
and opened for the conveyance of passengers 
and goods with all practicable speed. 

(3). That the East India Company 
should provide the land required for the 
railway and for stations, offices and so forth. 

(4). That the East Indian Railway Com- 
pany should make such gradients, furnish 
rails of such weight and strength, and provide 
either single or double line as the East India 
Company would direct, and should also pro- 
vide electric telegraphs and perform all such 
directions as might from time to time be 
given by the East India Company. 

( 5 ). That the Railway Company should 
provide a good and sufficient working stock 
and perform the duties of common carriers 
of goods and passengers, and allow the use 
of the railway to the public on terms to be 
approved by the East India Company, and 



8 HISTORY OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

charge such fares as should be approved by 
the East India Company. 

(6). That the railway Company, its 
oflBcers and servants, accounts and affairs be 
subject to the control and superintendence 
of the East India Company, and that all 
expenses be submitted for their sanction. 

(7). That the Railway and its works be 
kept in a state of good repair to the satis- 
faction of the East India Company. 

(8). That the East India Company pay 
the Railway Company interest at the rate of 
5 per cent, per annum on the £1,000,000 paid 
to the East India Company, and that if the 
expenditure of the railway should exceed 
this sum, and further capital be raised, 
interest at the same rate be paid on it also. 

(9). That the Railway Company convey 
the Government mails and post bags and 
servants of the post-oflBce free of charge 
and convey troops and other Government 
oflScers and servants specified at reduced 
fares. 

( 10). That the railway become the pro- 
perty of the East India Company after 99 
years, the engines, carriages, stock, machi- 
nery, and plant being paid for at a valuation. 

The railway also had the right to sur- 
render the line to the East India Company 
and the East India Company had a right 
of purchase on certain conditions, at any 
time within six months after the expiration 
of the first twenty-five years. 



KARLY OPPOSITION. 



Such briefly were the terms of the first 
contract, and it seems unnecessary to detail 
the obstacles that had to be overcome before 
it was entered upon. For some years the 
Board were confronted with difficulties and 
opposed by persons whose interest seems to 
have been to prove that a railway, such as pro- 
posed, could not possibly pay. A Mr. John 
bourne, for example, who had been a sur- 
veyor in the employment of the Company, 
advocated that a single line of railway laid 
upon the Grand Trunk road to Mirzapore, 
was all that was needed, and endeavoured 
to prove that a section of 150 miles out 
of Calcutta could not be profitable ; he 
estimated the revenue on the traffic of the 
district between Calcutta and Burdwan, and 
putting this at a very low figure calculated 
that the working expenses, maintenance and 
depreciation would be so enormous that the 
outside dividend to be looked for would 
be under 2 per cent, on the capital. 
Mr. James Kendel disagreed entirely 
with Mr. Bourne's figures and estimated 
that even if his forecast of traffic was 
correct, a dividend of over 7 per cent, 
was far more probable. But this is 
only an instance of the criticism of the 
period. Others held that natives would not 
travel by railway, and that there was little 
need in a country like India which had 
river transport available, to construct a 
railroad for the movement of merchandise. 



10 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

which, they held, could not be carried by rail 
as cheaply as by river or road, while speed 
was no object. There were indeed many op- 
ponents to the scheme, but as the Board 
remarked at the time : " In the introduce 
tion of an undertaking so vast and distant 
there must always be difficulties in the first 
instance to surmount, but when the stake 
which the nation possesses in the interests 
of India, and the results likely to attend the 
introduction of railways into that country, 
are considered, the Board cannot doubt the 
disposition of all the authorities connected 
with the Government of India, to give those 
encouragements to the object, which are 
indispensable to induce capitalists to embark 
their money in it." 

Among the most indefatigable workers on 
behalf of the Company was Mr. Stephenson, 
and that this was recognised at the time is 
apparent from a resolution of the share- 
holders recorded in 1849-1850 : — 

"That in consideration of the services 
rendered by Mr. R. Macdonald Stephenson 
to this Company, and of the extraordinary 
exertions made, and the risks encountered 
by him, in introducing the railroad system 
into India, embracing three journeys to 
India and the survey of many hundred miles 
of railroad — it is the feeling of this meeting 
that he should be allowed a compensation 
for himself, and his family after his decease, 
by way of a percentage on the net profits. 



FIXING THB GAUGE. 11 

which, over and above 5 per cent, shall be 
received by the shareholders on the capital 
invested in the experimental section of 
railway now contemplated, and that the 
Directors be requested to take into considera- 
tion the rate of such percentage and submit 
the same to a future meeting of the pro- 
prietors." 

The Directors subsequently recommended 
5 per cent, as a suitable allowance, and Mr. 
Stephenson must have felt exceedingly satis- 
fied. He embarked for Tndia again in March 
1850, together with Mr. George TurnbuU, 
the Resident Engineer-in -Chief, and in lesa 
than a year the first section of the Company's 
proposed line was finally determined upon. 
" The Authorities, " in the words of the 
Board, " have sanctioned the construction of 
a line of railroad from Howrah, opposite 
Calcutta, to Pundooah, with a branch line 
into the Raneegunge Collieries. The total 
length will be from 120 to 130 miles ; afid 
will in the first instance be laid with a single 
line of rails." At the same time contracts 
for the construction of the first 40 miles to 
Pundooah were let in India, and soon after- 
wards work was commenced, a gauge of five 
feet six inches being determined upon. 

It is said that Lord Dalhousie actually 
decided the question of gauge for the first 
railway in India. At home there had been 
much controversy as to whether the gauge 
for English lines should be 4'8^" or 7'- 



12 fllSTORY OF THE K. 1. RAILWAY. 

Some railways were made to one, others to 
the other, Lord Dalhousie laid down that, 
in India, the gauge should be between these 
two extremes. Had it been possible for 
Lord Dalhousie to foresee subsequent deve- 
lopments he would probably have selected 
the 4' 8^" gauge, and if he had done so there 
would have been no excuse for introducing 
the complication of the metre gauge. 

Mr. H. A. Aglionby, m.p., now became 
the Chairman of the Company, and during 
the early days of construction the reports 
of the Board were necessarily brief, but 
•early in 1852, work having been started on 
the section between Pundooah and Ranee- 
^unge, it was decided that the main line to 
the North- West Provinces of India should 
proceed via Rajmahal, following the course 
of the Ganges, that is to say, by the route 
which forms what is now known as the loop 
line. 

Early in 1854. the first section of the line 
to Raneegunge was completed, and Mr. 
Aglionby, addressing the shareholders,advised 
them that a new contract had been entered 
into with the East India Company to extend 
the railway to Delhi. Additional capital 
was now raised^ and it was found that confi- 
•dence in the prospects of the undertaking 
was gradually growing. As Mr. Aglionby 
remarked ** it was the opinion of men best 
Acquainted with mercantile matters that few, 
if any, companies in England at the present 



MR. BENDBL'S RRPORT. 1$ 

moment held out higher promise or better 
security than their own." Referring to the 
assistance given by the Company's Consult- 
ing Engineer he said : ** he could not talk 
too highly of the indefatigable exertions and 
untiring energy of Mr. Rendel ; the advanced 
state of the works would speak for them- 
selves. Not only was the line from Calcutta 
to Raneegunge (a distance of 121 miles) 
almost finished, but an extended advance 
was actively going on to Rajmahal, a further 
increase of 120 miles," and it is interesting 
to record what Mr. Rendel said in reply. 
Mr. Rendel said, that the shareholders 
would be glad to learn that already forty-five 
miles of their line had been completed from 
Calcutta. There were engineering diflScul- 
ties to contend with in India, which people 
at home could not possibly conceive. Yet 
he was bound to say that the works executed 
on their Indian lines were equal to any of 
the kind done in this country ; several large 
bridges had been built over nullahs and rivers 
near Hooghly, and on exceedingly treacher- 
ous, sinking and shifting ground. Yet no 
failures had happened nor had any accidents 
taken place, though since the planning of 
their railway, heavier floods had risen in 
Bengal than had been witnessed since the 
days of Clive. Before the end of the year 
the works would bring their rails to the 
Raneegunge coal fields and great profits would 
accrue when this was completed. On t\v% 



14 HISTOBY OF THR B. I, RAILWAY. 

opening of the line their rolling stock and 
•engines would be found to equal anything of 
the sort in England. The Directors of the 
East India Company had readily met and 
<joncurred in all his suggestions and by the 
extraordinary exertions of their engineers, 
a survey to Allahabad had been taken in 
45ix months. Within four years their line 
would be advanced to this populous and 
important town, and seven years hence their 
railway would be running to Delhi. 

From such speeches do we gain a glimpse 
of the work of construction in its earliest 
•days, of the difficulties overcome and of the 
hopes for the future. 

The first division of the experimental line 
from Howrah to Hooghly was opened for 
passenger traffic on the 15th August 1854, 
and a fortnight later an extension was 
opened to Pundooah. During the first six- 
teen weeks no less than 109,634 passengers 
were carried, and the gross earnings (includ- 
ing receipts for a few tons of merchandise) 
were £6,792 155. 9d. or an average of £424 
105. 1 liid. per week, and the Board reported 
that " looking to the small portion of line 
opened, the traffic has far exceeded the most 
sanguine expectations ; and perhaps the most 
gratifying feature of all is in the fact that, 
-contrary to a general belief in the indis- 
position and inability of the natives to avail 
themselves of railway communication, by far 
the largest number of passengers carried 



0PBNIN6 TO BAKBB6UNGK. 15 

has been of the third class. The following 
is an analysis of the traffic: — First Class, 
5,511 ; Second Class, 21,005; Third Class, 
83,118." 

It was considered a most extraordinary 
act that the very poorest of the inhabitants 
had availed themselves of the Railway direct- 
ly it was opened. The third class fare was 
then fd. per mile and there were only three 
classes, but the fact was proved that neither 
caste prejudices nor other considerations 
would prevent the native from making use 
of the new means of transport, though 
previous to this many, who should perhaps 
have been better informed, held a contrary 
opinion. 

The line to Raneegunge was opened early 
in 1855, and this was held to be the termi- 
nation of the first or experimental line. 
During the fifteen weeks after the line had 
been opened as far as Raneegunge, the num- 
ber of passengers carried was 179,404 or an 
average of nearlv 12,000 a week, and the 
earnings rose to about £900 a week. 

Mr. K. W. Crawford, one of the Directors, 
who had been appointed Chairman of the 
Board of Directors, on the death of Mr. 
Aglionby, in his address to the Shareholders 
in August 1855, said that he looked upon 
the report on the traffic they had carried as 
most satisfactory '' not only as regarded its 
amount and the prospect of its increase but 
also in this particular, that it put an end to 



16 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

the gloomy anticipations of those parties 
in this country, whose acquaintance with 
India was of a rather ancient date, and who 
were apprehensive that the prejudices of the 
natives would prevent them travelling by 
railway. Such was not the case." Mr. 
Crawford added that he had been himself in 
India and knew that the natives were fully 
alive to everything that could improve their 
position. They were aware that time was 
to them, as to the people of Europe, a great 
element of profit, and they would, therefore, 
avail themselves of a means of speedy tran- 
sit from place to place, in preference to 
exercising the natural means of locomotion. 
It may here be remarked that prolonged 
experience has shewn that no truer words 
were ever spoken. The native of India likes 
to travel as fast as he can be carried, and 
at the present time there is no better proof 
of this than the preference given to the 
recently-introduced third class express trains 
over the slow passenger trains, but it took 
many years to recognise this, and it was 
not until 1897, during the Chairmanship 
of General Sir Richard Strachey, that third 
class passengers were first admitted to the 
mail trains below Allahabad, and not until 
1905 that express trains were first run for 
lower class passengers. 



CHAPTER II. 

Progress of Construction. Effect of the 
Mutiny. Visit of Mr. A. M. Kendel 
to India, 

We have seen that the first contract with 
the East India Company was dated the 1 7th 
August 1849, that Mr. Stephenson proceed- 
ed to India shortly afterwards, and in 
conjunction with the Government Engineers, 
decided upon the route the experimental 
line should follow, and that in 1854, or 
within three and-a-half vears of the time in 
which the land necessary for the purpose 
had been made over, the Railway was open- 
ed as far as Hooghly, and shortly afterwards 
as far as Raneegunge. Considering that all 
the permanent- way, rolling-stock and other 
stores had to be transported from England, 
in sailing ships via the Cape, the time taken 
was by no means long. By 1856, contracts 
had been entered upon for all the rails that 
would be required to construct the line from 
Calcutta to Delhi, a distance of about 1,000 
miles. That is to say a line which would be 
about as long as from Land's End to the 
North of Scotland and back again. 

During the eleven months of 1855, in 
which the line was open from Calcutta to 
Raneegunge, no fewer than 617,281 passen- 
gers were carried, an amount of traffic quite 
sufficient to satisfy the most sceptical of the 

H, BIB % 



1« HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

travelling propensities of the natives of 
India, and beyond this there was an imme- 
diate development of the goods traffic. 
Contracts were entered upon to carry over 
100,000 tons of coal from Raneegunge 
to Calcutta, and a quantity of ordinary 
merchandise was transported, which, 
though comparatively small, gave hope 
for the future. In the second half of 
1855, the revenue from coaching traffic 
was £25,000, from goods traffic £6,385, 
from coal £7,856, and the working expenses 
amounted to 42 per cent, of the gross traffic 
receipts. During 1856 the traffic continued 
to develop, and the working expenses were 
considerably reduced. In this year Mr. 
Stephenson's health failed, and he was com- 
pelled to relinquish his duties as Agent of 
the Company in India, to be succeeded in 
1857 by Mr. Edward Palmer who had had a 
training on the Great Western and Great 
Northern Railw^ays of England. Mr. 
Stephenson now joined the Board of Directors 
in London. 

The Company's Consulting Engineer, 
Mr. James Meadows Rendel, who had ren- 
dered most valuable service to the Company, 
and had always expressed the greatest faith 
in its prospects, died in 1857 and was suc- 
ceeded by his sons, Messrs. A. M. and G. 
Rendel, but the latter shortly afterwards 
joined the firm of Messrs. Armstrong, leaving 
the work of the East Indian Railway 



OUTBREAK OF THE MUTINY. 19 

entirely in the hands of Mr. A. M. (now 
Sir Alexander) Rendel, who has continued 
to be the Company's Consulting Engineer 
•ever since. Proposals were under considera- 
tion at this time for two most important 
•extensions of the Railway, the first from 
Mirzapore to Jubbulpore to connect with the 
Oreat Indian Peninsula Railway running from 
Bombay, the second from Delhi to Lahore. 

In the spring of 1857 it was that the Great 
Mutiny broke out, and, as a consequence, a 
large portion of the work of construction 
was delayed, while all new projects had to 
stand over. 

The Board's report to the shareholders 
dated the 29th of October 1857, gives some 
account of the Company's afiairs in that 
memorable year, and the following extract 
from it will oe read with interest : 

"The unfortunate events occurring in India at the 
present time have, doubtless, created some anxiety as to the 
-effect which they may have had on the progress of tlie 
Company's operations, and the Board avail themselves of 
this opportunity of making the Proprietors acquainted with 
the circumstances of the Company to the latest date They 
beg to report that, whilst in common with the rest of the 
•community, the Company has suffered by the mutiny, it has 
not sustained that serious amount of damage which might 
have been feared ; as, irrespective of the sacrifice of valuaole 
lives, which the Board most deeply lament, the chief loss it 
will have to deplore will be that arising from the temporary 
stoppage of the principal portion of the works and the conse- 
•quent delay in their completion. Jn the Lower Provinces, 
for instance, the damage done to the Company's property 
has been mainly confined, as far as the Board is aware, to 
•certain station works, and the preparations made for the 
Soane bridge ; and in the Upper Provinces and on the Eiver 
to the destruction of some of its buildings, machinery and 



20 HISTORY OF THE E. I. RAILWAY.. 

tools. It has been a source of sincere gratification to th& 
Board to observe the praiseworthy efforts which have been 
made by the members of the Stafif to protect the Company's- 
property, surrounded as in many cases they have been with 
great personal dangers. It would be invidious, where all 
have conducted themselves so well, to particularize indivi- 
duals, but the Board cannot refrain from noticing in terms- 
of the highest commendation the conduct of Messrs. Boyle 
and Kelly in the gallant defence at Arrah, and in doing so- 
they are satisfied that they only echo the feelings of the 
entire executive in India." 

The "gallant defence at Arrah" was one- 
of the most glorious episodes of the mutiny^ 
and the name of Vicars Boyle, the East 
Indian Railway engineer who rendered the- 
defence possible, will ever be remembered, 
recorded as it is in every history of the great 
struggle. It need only be said here that 
among his colleagues he was always after- 
wards known as "Victor Boyle." 

Although the mutiny retarded the work of 
construction, the traffic on such portions of 
the line as were already opened for traffic 
continued to develop, and there was a very 
great growth in the revenue, the total receipts- 
for the year 1857 being £132,434 2s. lid. 
against £96,100 106\ 2d. in 1856. 

In 1858 the terms for constructing the- 
branch to Jubbulpore were concluded, and 
were, generally speaking, precisely the same- 
as for the remainder of the line. Interest on 
the additional capital required was guaranteed 
by Government at 5 per cent, per annum, and 
it was stipulated that the accounts were to be 
kept altogether distinct from those pertain-^ 
ing to the line to Delhi. 



FIRST VISIT OF MR. A. M. RBNDKL TO INDIA. 21 

During 1858 considerable progress was 
made, and the line between Allahabad and 
Cawnpore was completed. In this year also 
Mr. Meadows Rendel sailed for Calcutta in 
order to have an opportunity of becoming 
personally acquainted with the local condi- 
tions of the coimtry. Mr. Rendel returned to 
England before the close of the year, having 
inspected the works along the entire length 
of the Railway as far as Cawnpore, beyond 
which it was not safe to proceed, and the Board 
had every reason to be satisfied with the 
result of his journey. Among other matters 
•dealt with by him, a very considerable saving 
was eficcted by his decision to introduce iron 
girders instead of brick arches in the con- 
struction of bridges, while a difficulty which 
had arisen in the transport up-country of 
materials, stores and rolling-stock was 
overcome, at his suggestion, by building light- 
draught steamers and flats for the transport 
service of the Company. Some of these 
vessels were built in England and some in 
Calcutta, and a means of relief afforded 
which could not otherwise have been 
•effected. 

We must now go back a few years to give 
A brief account of a project which will be 
referred to again elsewhere but should also 
he mentioned here. In 1856 the Board of 
Directors, hearing that a plan for construct- 
ing a bridge over the river Hooghly was 
wnder consideration, and that a new Port 



22 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

subsidiary to Calcutta, was about to b& 
established on the river Mutlah, offered to 
make the surveys of a line of railway to 
connect that Port with the Company '& 
line. 

The Court of Directors of the East India 
Company, having considered the matter, took 
the view that it was then premature to con- 
nect Mutlah with Calcutta by railway, and 
told the Board so. 

In the meantime, however, another Com- 
pany was established for the express purpose 
of making this railway, and proposed to- 
raise the necessary capital without any 
guarantee of interest. On this the Secretary 
of State for India invited the Board to- 
express their views. They replied in thesa 
terms " in the present state of the question 
of bridging the Hooghly, they are not pre- 
pared to recommend the Proprietors to- 
undertake the construction of the Railway in 
question, but if any concession for the 
line should be made to third parties, it i& 
their conviction that a clause should be insert- 
ed, requiring the sale of the line to the^ 
East Indian Railway Company hereafter, on 
terms to be settled by arbitration, should the 
public interests render such a course desir- 
able," and so the question of directly con- 
necting the East Indian Railway with a 
subsidiary port to Calcutta on the river 
Mutlah remained in abeyance until it waa 
re-opened by Col. Gardiner, Agent of the^ 
Company, many j^ears afterwards. 



MURDBB OF MESSRS. EVANS AND UMNBLL. 28 

At this time it had been proposed to en- 
trust the construction of an extension of the 
Railway from Delhi to Lahore to the East 
Indian Railway Company, and surveys were 
taken by the Company's Officers of the river 
Sutlej, with a view to determining the best 
point at which that river should be crossed, 
but in 1859, the Government decided to 
make this section over to another Company, 
then known as the '* Punjab Railway " and 
the Board relinquished tbeir claim. 

In the meantime the survey of the Jub- 
bulpore branch was being pushed on, and it 
may here be mentioned that, while in the 
prosecution of this work, Mr. Evans, the 
Chief Engineer, and Mr. Limnell, his 
Assistant, were attacked and murdered by a 
party of rebels. Mr. Limnell " whose quali- 
fications," in the words of the Board, " were 
reported to be of the highest order, had but 
lately joined the service, but Mr. Evans was 
one of the oldest and most respected of the 
Company's officers, and had only recently 
been promoted to the post which he held at 
the time of his death." 

Some details of this incident taken from 
an account given me by Mr. H. Wenden, 
C.I.E., now Agent of the Great Indian Penin- 
sular Railway, but at the time a young 
engineer on construction work, supplemented 
by an account by Mr. John Lewis, who was an 
engineer on the Jubbulpore line shortly after 
the occurrence, are of considerable interest. 



24 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

During the cold season of 1858-9 Mr. 
Evans, Chief Engineer of the AUahabad- 
Jubbulpore extension survey party, together 
with Messrs. Limnell and CoHn Campbell, 
two of his assistants, were in camp in Rewah 
territory at a place called Entowah. They 
had just finished their midday meal when 
Campbell hearing a *' bobbery" looked out of 
his tent and saw a posse of armed natives 
bearing down on the camp. His sais, an old 
grey-bearded Mahomedan, ran up to Colin 
Campbell with his grey horse saddled and got 
him on to it. By hard riding he managed 
to reach Manickpore in safety, though chased 
for many miles by sowars^ and the next day 
went on to Allahabad where he reported the 
tragedy. 

Mr. John Lewis says, " Colin Campbell 
took me over the route of his escape, and how 
he stuck on his horse over such a country is 
one of the marvels of horsemanship." 

The men who made the attack on the 
camp were part of a band of outlaws cast off 
from Tantia Topee's force and led by a muti- 
neer named Runmust Singh, who, after 
Evans' head had been cut off*, ordered Lim- 
nell to carry it. 

Limnell carried it until he was exhausted 
and then Runmust Singh ordered some of his 
men to kill him ; this they refused to do say- 
ing they had killed one sahib, he must kill 
the other, which he did by shooting him 
down. 



PR0GRBS8 OF CONSTRUCTION. 25 

The country was scoured by a body of 
Alexander's Horse and some Gurkhas, and 
shortly afterwards Runmust Singh was 
-captured and hanged in Rewah. 

Throughout 1859, construction proceeded 
Apace, work progressed along several sections 
of the Railway simultaneously.* The chief 
difficulty lay in the transport of material 
up country, and another trouble of a more 
temporary nature was a terrible cholera 
-epidemic which ravaged the Rajmahal Dis- 
trict during October and November of that 
year. For some weeks no less than eight 
to ten per cent, of the coolies employed died 
weekly, and the disease did not altogether 
disappear until the middle of December. 
During the epidemic it is estimated that 
over 4,000 labourers succumbed, and the 
reports of the engineers engaged on con- 
struction shew what a trying time they 
had. 

But by the close of 1859, considerable 
progress had been made. The 24 miles 
between the river Adjai and Sainthea 
4station, the remaining portion of the South 
Beerbhoom District, had been opened for 
traffic, while the section to Rajmahal was 
-almost completed. From Rajmahal also, as 
far as Colgong, the works were in a forward 
state, and good progress was being made 
with sections beyond as far as Monghyr, the 
Jamalpur tunnel was in course of construc- 
tion, and the only bar to progress further 



26 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

north was the want of bridge and permanent 
way material which could not be forwarded 
sufficiently quickly. 

In the North- West Provinces also work 
was already going on as far as Agra, while 
arrangements were in progress for getting 
possession of the necessary land for the 
entrance into Delhi. The Board reported 
that ^* the great difficulty still to be overcome 
is the transport of permanent-way materials^ 
from Calcutta to the works", but they had 
every confidence that " when the line is- 
opened to Rajmahal, and their steam flotilla 
is fairly at work, this last remaining bar ta 
completion will be removed." 

Let us now glance at the traffic being 
carried in these early days. 

During the year 1859, the number of 
passengers carried was 1,388,714 against 
1,172,852 in the previous year. 

The weight of goods carried was 299,424 
tons against 190,566 tons in 1858, and the 
increase in th^ mineral traffic was so great 
that it was decided to extend what was then 
known as the branch to the collieries, from 
Raneegunge to Barrakur. ' 

The net traffic receipts, converted into* 
pounds sterling at^the rate of 2s. the rupee,, 
are shewn in the following table : — 

1855 

•{«^«}l2lmUes. 

1858 142 „ 
1869 166 „ 



£31,252 


12 


9 


57,060 


1 


6 


82,770 


11 


6 


88,148 


2 


10 


128,534 


8 


€ 



STATISTICS OF TRAFFIC. 2T 

In 1855, the net receipts per mile open per 
week were £4 195. 4d, in 1859, £16 9s. 7d. 
The percentage of working expenses to 
receipts were, in 1855, 53-26, in 1859, 44-85. 
The number of passengersand tons of goods- 
carried compared : — - 

1855. 1859. 

Passengers. Goods. Passengers. Goods. 

No. Tons. No. Tons. 

790,281 27,213 1,388,714 299,424. 

At the end of 1859, there were 19 passen- 
ger and 30 goods engines running on the line, 
and 8 passenger and 20 gopds engines under 
construction or repair, the whole of the coach- 
ing stock amounted to 228 vehicles, while^ 
the goods stock only totalled 848 wagons. 



CHAPTER HI. 
Opening op the Railway to Rajmahal and 

SUBSEQUENTLY TO DeLHI. RETIREMENT OB 

Mr George Turnbull, the first Rail- 
way Engineer in India. — The Construc- 
tion OP the Chord Line decided upon, 
— Unexpected Growth of Traffic, 

FOLLOWED by COMPLAINTS OF WANT OP 
ADEQUATE FACILITIES. 

On the 4th July 1860, the first train ran 
through from Calcutta to Rajmahal, and on 
the 15th October following this secition of the 
Railway was advertised as open to the public, 
the interval of the rains having been employed 
in putting the line into efficient order, and 
allowing the earthwork to settle and consoli- 
date. " Great expectations," the Board said, 
" have been formed of the large traffic which 
will come upon this portion of the line, but 
the Board think it right to guard the share- 
holders against too sanguine an expectation 
that this traffic will appear simultaneously 
with its opening. It will certainly take time 
to draw it from its accustomed channels, and 
whilst no doubt there will at once be a very 
<5onsiderable apparent tonnage conveyed, it 
wall principally be in the Company's own 
materials, the real trade of the country coming 
gradually, and until the advantages of railway 
transit are better understood m India, pro- 
bably in the first instance somewhat slowly." 



OPENIMO TO KAJMAHAL. 29 

To commemorate the opening of the line aa 
far as Rajmahal, the Government of India 
struck a large silver medal which was distri- 
buted to the principal officers engaged on 
the work. The following is a copy of the 
communication sent to one of the District 
Engineers employed on tlie work : — 

From 

THE SECRETARY TO GOVT. OF INDIA, 

Public Works Depnrtmmt, 



To 



Sir, 



GRAHAM TEDDIE, Esq., 

District Engineer, 

Easit Indian Raihcaff. 



I AM commanded by Ilis Excellency the Viceroy 
and Uovernor-General of India to transmit, for your ac> 
ceptance, the medal struck by order of Government on the 
occasion of opening the East Indian Railway to the 
Ganges at Rajmahal. as being a memorable point attained 
in the construction of that great work, on which you have 
been employed. 

I have the honour to be 

Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

n. YULE, LiEUT.-CoL., 
Secretary to the Govt, of Tndia, 

The Company had now 249 miles at work 
in Bengal and 12(5 miles open for traffic in 
the North-West Provinces, and during the 
year 1860 the additional length of 87 miles 
from Cawnpore to Etawah, was opened to 
traffic. Certain considerations, however, 
rendered it desirable to postpone the cou- 



30 HISTORY or THE B. !• RAILWAY. 

jstruction of the Jubbulpore section and this 
part of the scheme was, for the time being, 
placed in abeyance. 

During 1861, further sections of the line 
were opened for traffic, 72^ miles in Bengal 
and 120f miles in the North- West Provinces, 
And by the beginning of 1862 the line was 
<3ompleted to Mongh37r, so that the Company 
had at work 359^ miles in Bengal and 243f 
miles in the North- West Provinces, or a 
total of 603|^ miles, and there was every 
hope that the whole of the main line would 
be completed by the end of 1862. In this 
year also it was determined to proceed with 
the construction of the Jubbulpore branch. 

Throughout 1863 various sections of the 
main line were completed, but it was not 
until the 1st August, 1864, that the East 
Indian Railway was opened up to the banks 
of the river Jumna at Delhi. The delay 
was largely due to a question having been 
raised by Government as to the route the 
line should follow. In the words of the 
Board " The large bridge over the Jumna 
at Delhi was being rapidly pushed forward 
when the Government of India proposed that 
the line should proceed to Lahore, via Meerut 
and Saharanpur, instead of from Delhi, in 
a direct line to Ferozepore. Pending the 
settlement of this question, the principal 
works on this bridge have been temporarily 
suspended, because the arrangement now 
suggested might render it desirable to com- 



OPENING TO DELHI. HI 

plete the bridge as a road bridge into Delhi 
instead of as a railway bridge. This alter- 
ation is undoubtedly of great advantage to 
the Company engaged on the Lahore line, 
and appears to have been originated by the 
Government for good and sufficient reasons ; 
but it has necessarily involved many serious 
-considerations, which the Directors of this 
Company have, on public grounds, and in the 
interests of this Company, thought it right 
to submit to the Secretary of State." 

The question was discussed at great length, 
but in the end the problem was solved by a 
compromise. It was agreed that the East 
Indian Railway should run into Delhi, and 
that the Punjab line should be constructed 
via Meerut and Saharanpur but that it should 
also have access to Delhi by running over a 
short section (12 miles) of the East Indian 
Railway from Ghaziabad. Mr. Crawford, 
Chairman of the Board, in his address to the 
shareholders in April 1864 said that '* It 
was a great gratification to him to state that 
the line from Calcutta to Delhi was open for 
traffic with the exception of the bridge over 
the Jumna at Allahabad. They could now 
take passengers over their line from Calcutta 
to Delhi and mce versa a distance of 1,020 
miles. He thought everyone must admit that 
notwithstanding the various difficulties and 
obstructions thrown in their way from time 
to time, the progress they had made was very 
satisfactory. They could not compare the 



32 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

work on any line in England, either for 
magnitude or length of continuous line, with 
their East Indian line. There was not a line 
on any part of the Continent to compare with 
it. Even the Grand Trunk line of Canada 
could not compare with it as to works, pro- 
gress or length of line. The completion of 
the works at the Delhi end of the line had 
been impeded by considerations as to route 
and in respect of the point of junction with 
the Punjab line. The original course of the 
line had been altered by the Government and 
it was now to go, through the centre of the 
Doab between two rivers, in the direction of 
Delhi. The Punjab line had also been altered 
so that both lines should enter Delhi. These 
alterations in route had caused great delay 
in finishing the third great bridge, involving 
considerable expense to the Company. The 
works on the Jubbulpore line were proceed- 
ing satisfactorily, and there was every reason 
to believe that the line would be completed 
by 1866. From information they had 
received, there was no doubt the works would 
be completed on the Jubbulpore line to it& 
junction with the Bombay Railway at Jub- 
bulpore and be ready for exchanging traffic 
with the Great Indian Peninsula Company 
when they could meet them with their 
line." 

At this period the construction of the 
present main or Chord Line was already under 
consideration, several alternative routes had 




8 3 1*? 

OS'S 2 

mi 

S » fl 
c8 o ce 



GOYKBNMBNT APPRBGIATIOK. 33 

been surveyed and Government was being 
pressed to sanction the adoption of one of 
them. The ^eat advantage of the Chord 
line was that it would shorten the distance 
for carrying " through traffic" by nearly 100 
miles and save the expense of doubling the cir- 
cuitous route via the Loop or then Main line. 
In the meanwhile, the Government was 
full of appreciation of the results already 
attained. On the 25th August, 1863, the 
Secretary to the Government of Bengal, 
Railway Branch, wrote to the Secretary to 
the Government of India : — 

"With reference to the results shewn in the Bevenue 
Accoant of the East Indian Railway for the last half year, 
which have been prominently noticed in the note submitted 
to the Qovernment of India, I am instructed to state that 
the Lieutenant-Governor desires to express the gratification 
with which he regards the successful issue of the operations 
of the season. The vast amount of trafSc, both in passen- 

gers and goods, which has been attracted to the Bailway 
uring the first six months of its opening to Benares, 
notwithstanding the novelty of the^ undertaking, the 
necessarily imperfect nature of the station accommodation, 
the inexperience of the establishments and the insuflScient 
available means, both of locomotion and transport, reflects, 
in His Honor's opinion, the highest credit on the Company's 
officers, especially those of the Traffic Department, with 
Mr. Batchelor at their head, and holds out an almost 
certain promise that the Bailway in a short time will not 
only become independent of the guarantee and yield a 
profit in excess of 5 per cent, to the shareholders, but may 
conduce beyond all former expectation to the wealth and 
improvement of the country, and to the strength and 
financial prosperity of the Government.'' 

Previous to this the Viceroy, Lord Elgin, 
had personally gone over the line from 
Calcutta to Bcmares, and we must not omit 
to notice the following extract from the offi- 

H, BIB % 



34 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

cial Gazette, in which is recorded what he 
observed on his journey, and his appreciation 
of the work done by the Company's Chief 
Engineer in Bengal, Mr. George Tumbull, 
who, after thirteen years laborious duty, 
found that his health would no longer permit 
him to give the Company the benefit of his 
services, and was about to leave India. The 
Board, in referring to the acknowledgment 
by Government of Mr. TurnbuU's unique 
services, remarked that : — 

" Gratifying as any such tokens of respect would doubt- 
less be to Mr. Tumbull, they will be nothing as compared 
with the reward he will find in the contemplation of the 
kindly feelings with which future ages of India Will 
unquestionably regard the name of the man whose genius 

Elanned and whose indomitable courage and perseverance 
ave carried out the magnificent series of works entrusted 
to his care." 

Extract from " Official Gazette." 

Benares^ February *7th, 1863.— H. E. the Viceroy on his 
arrival at this city desires to congratulate the ofScers of the 
East Indian Bailway Company and thepublic on the comple- 
tion of the additional section of the Grrand Trunk line of 
Bailway, from Calcutta to the North-West Provinces, that 
has been recently opened to Benares, and on the prospects of 
the early opening of the whole line for trafi&c up to Allaha- 
bad and Delhi. 

2. The distance from Calcutta by rail to Benares is 541 
miles. Work was begun in 1851. The line to Burdwan 
was o[>ened in February 1855 ; to Adjai in October 1858 ; 
to Bajmahal in October 1859 ; to Bhagulpore in 1861 ; to 
Monghyr in February 1862, and to opposite Benares in 
December 1862. In ten years therefore have been opened 
(including branches) a continuous length of 601 miles, 
being at the rate of 60 miles a year. This is exclusive of 
the portion of the line already finished between Allahabad 
and Agra in the North- West Provinces, and of the sections 
from Agra and Allyghur, which it is expected will be 
ready in a few weeks. Including this length, the progress 
of the East Indian Bailway has not been short of ninety 



MOBB GOVEBNMBNT APPRECIATION. 85 

miles a ^ear—a rate which, if it has not come up to the 
ezpeotations first entertained is, under all the circum- 
stances of the case, satisfactory as regards the past and 
encouraging as regards the future. 

3. On his journey from Calcutta to Benares H. E. ob- 
served, with much interest, the numerous striking works 
that have been so successfully constructed on this Bail way 
by the Oompany's eu^rineers, and viewed with particular 
4idmiration tne great girder bridge over the Soane, which, 
it is believed, is exc^ded in magnitude by only one bridge 
in the world. The smaller girder bridges over the Kiul 
4ind Hullohur, the heavy nood arching in the vicinity of 
these rivers, the masonry bridges over the Adjai and More 
and the Monghyr tunnel, also attracted the attention of 
H.-£. the Viceroy, as works of more than ordinary difficul- 
ty designed and carried out with signal ability. 

4. H. E. the Governor-General gladly accepts this op- 
portunity of acknowledging the services rendered by the 
officers of the Bail way Company in the prosecution of this 
great work ; and of expressing more specially the strong 
sense he entertains of the high engineering skill and the 
steady devotion to his duties exhibited by Mr. George 
Tumbull, the Chief Engineer of the Company in Bengal, who, 
in a few days, will give up the direction of the works which 
he has now seen completed. Although not in the immediate 
employment of the Government, Mr. Turnbull has, in the 
opinion of H. E , well earned the expression of the thanks 
of the Governor-General for his professional services, which 
liave, indeed, been rendered as much to the public as to the 
Bailway Company. In all Mr. TurnbuU's dealings with 
the omcers of the Government, he has invariably shewn 
that moderation and desire to conciliate, which were 
essential for the harmonious and successful carrying on of 
the railway works, under the peculiar conditions imposed 
by the terms of the Government guarantee ; and the Gover- 
nor-General has much satisfaction in signifying, on behalf 
of the Government of India, his high estimation of the 
manner in which all Mr. TurnbulPs relations with the 
Oovemment have been conducted. 

6. H. E. the Viceroy will not fail to bring to the favour- 
able notice of H. M.'s Government the long and excellent 
4services of Mr. Tumbull, who, having been the first Bailway 
Engineer employed in India, has now happily seen the por- 
tion of this great work on which he was more particularly 
engaged brought to a close, after many years of arduous and 
persevering labour, under circumstances of unusual difficulty^ 



86 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

with the most complete satiBfaction to his employers and to 
the Government, and with the highest credit to himself. 

(Sd.) R. Strachet, Lieut.-Gol., b.s., 

Secretary to the Government of India with 
the Oovenwr-Oeneral, 

Mr. TurnbuU had encountered and over- 
come various difficulties. Besides the magni- 
tude of the works, the construction of a 
railway was a novelty in India and a 
practical knowledge of the country, the 
people, and their language had to be acquired. 
The native had to be trained to accomplish 
tasks entirely foreign to anything he had 
seen or heard of before and the wonderful 
adaptability which enabled him to carry out, 
under European guidance, the construction 
of a railroad was in itself an indication that 
he would afterwards be able to take charge 
of its stations and goods sheds, maintain it& 
permanent way and buildings, construct its 
engines and rolling stock, work its telegraph 
and carry out, often under the most trying 
circumstances and contending against all 
manner of difficulties, every kind of duty 
that would be likely to be required of him. 

In the early progress of the work the 
engineers were much impeded by the 
Sonthal insurrection, and the importation of 
labourers from Nagpur and other distant 
parts became a necessity. The unhealthiness 
of some parts of the country, especially about 
the base of the Kaimahal hills, was the cause 
of great delays, while from Monghyr upwards 



RBTXBBMBNT OF MB. TURNBULL. 37 

the eflTect of the Indiaa Mutiny was to 
throw back progress for nearly two years. 
The circumstances of the route having been 
taken along the banks of the Hooghly, the 
Bhagarathi and the Ganges made it 
necessary to cross all the affluents of those 
great rivers, involving large bridges and 
extensive viaducts, besides embankments of 
unusual length and size, and if any pioneer of 
railway construction deserves a memorial 
to his name it is Mr. George TurnbuU. 

Mr. TurnbuU was succeeded by Mr. 
Samuel Power who had been Superintending 
Engineer of the Soane bridge. At this time 
the line had three Chief Engineers ; Mr. 
TurnbuU had been Chief Engineer of the 
Bengal Division, Mr. George Sibley was 
Chief Engineer of the North- West Provinces, 
and Mr. Henry P. Le Mesurier was Chief 
Engineer of the Jubbulpore line. On the 
opening of the line to Delhi Mr. Sibley also 
received the thanks of Government. 

By 1864 the traffic of the East Indian 
Railway had fast outgrown the facilities for 
dealing with it ; stock could not be con- 
structed fast enough to carry the traffic but, 
as the Board explained, " there was no blame 
for deficiency in rolling stock or other matters 
that could be laid to the Board. They had 
sent out a large quantity of material, includ- 
ing ironwork for carriages and wagons ; but 
the workshops and factories had been unable 
to supply the carriages fast enough." It is 



38 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY, 

curious to read now of stock difficulties so far 
back as 1864 ; the same cry had been heard 
ten years before then and has continued 
to the present time. But it was not only in 
regard to shortage of wagons that there 
was, even in those early days, difficulty in 
dealing with the traffic offering. Then, as 
now, the terminal facilities were totally 
inadequate. In his report for the first half 
of 1864 Mr. Power, Chief Engineer, Bengal 
Division, remarks : — 

" It is to be regretted that no improvement has taken 
place in the terminus at Howrah, where, at this season, it 
18 distressing to witness the general embarrassment of the 
traffic and the destruction of cotton, grain and other 
property, arising principally from the want of accommoda* 
tion at this station, from whence confusion appears to be 
propagated over all the line. * * * The heavy expenditure 
on permanent goods sheds, formerly proposed, would not 
be expedient now, when the establishment of a great 
metropolitan station in Calcutta is under discussion," 

While the Board said : — 

** At present the terminus of the line was at Howrah 
opposite Calcutta, but everybody said the proper place for 
the terminus was in Calcutta itself, and it was proposed 
that the East Indian line should be brought across the 
Hooghly, by a bridge at a point about two miles above 
Calcutta, and thus be brought into the city itself, and there 
form junctions with two other Kail ways. The capital re- 
quired for this purpose was about £1,000,000." 

The question of bridging the Hooghly 
and constructing a terminus in Calcutta was 
jointly considered by Mr. A. M. Kendel, 
the Company's Consulting Engineer, and 
Mr. Power, who in 1865 reported as 
follows : — 



PROPOSED CBNTRAL STATION IN CALCUTTA. 89 

'<It can hardly be expected that the community of 
Calcutta should be contented with their present means of 
access to the Railway, and it has long been foreseen that as 
soon as the value of railway communication in India was 
established, a demand would be made for a more perfect con- 
nection with the capital. As far back as 1854, the subject 
was referred by the then Government of India to the late 
Mr. Bendel. During the Mutiny, and for a few years 
subsequent to it, the attention of the public was otherwise 
occupied, but early in 1862 Mr. Tumbull, by the direction 
of the Government, prepared plans for a bridge over the 
Hooffhly, near Pultah Ghat In the early part of last year 
the Eastern Bengal Railway Company proposed to connect 
their line with the East Indian by a bridge 30 miles above 
Calcutta. This scheme would have had the effect of trans- 
ferring to the Eastern Bengal the whole of the East Indian 
through traffic for the same length. It was therefore 
opposed by the Board and ultimately rejected by the 
(Government of India, apparently on the ground that, in 
the interest of the public, the bridge should be placed as 
near as possible to Calcutta, and should be a part of the 
East Indian Railway system. Finally, towards the close of 
last year, a Committee was appointed in India by the 
Governor-General to investigate the question in connec- 
tion with the improvement of the port generally. The 
Board are in possession of the evidence taken before 
the Committee and the report which they have had based 
upon it. It is sufficient here to say that we fully agree with 
the Committee in regard to the necessity for the bridge and 
terminal station in Calcutta, also in regnrd to the site 
selected for them. We have reason also to believe that the 
Government of India entertain a similar opinion ; and 
however much the Board may desire to avoid so important 
an increase of the Company's responsibilities, yet if it is 
offered to them under the usual guarantee, they cannot, in 
our opinion, if they would be uncontrolled in the use of 
their access to Calcutta, refuse to undertake it.'' 

Further reference will be made to this 
proposal of bridging the Hooghly and 
constructing in Calcutta a central station. 
SuflSce to say for the present that we know 
what has actually been done. The Hooghly 
has not been bridged in the immediate vici- 
nity of the city, except by a floating roadway 



40 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

and there is no central station. The Blast 
Indian Railway crosses the river about 25 
miles North of Calcutta and runs on the 
metals of the Eastern Bengal Railway to the 
Kidderpore Docks, on the southern outskirts 
of the city, and the idea of bridging the 
Hooghly and constructing a centrd station 
is apparently further off accomplishment 
than it was in 1864. 

Other schemes for improving facilities 
of transport were however being also con- 
sidered and notably the construction of the 
chord line from Raneegunge to Luckieserai 
on the Ganges. This scheme was strongly 
supported by Mr. Rendel on the around 
that it woula save doubling the Loop line be- 
tween Khana and Luckieserai, a distance of 
252 miles, it would have the effect of bring- 
ing the coalfields 200 miles nearer the centre 
of the Company's system, thus benefiting 
not only the Company but the public, and it 
would greatly shorten the distance between 
Calcutta and the North- West Provinces, 
the more material point being that it would 
place Allahabad, where the traflBc of the 
North- West Provinces would diverge to the 
east or west, in a position that would go far 
to counterbalance the advantage which Bom^ 
bay has been assumed to possess over Cal^ 
cutta as a shipping port. 

The arguments in favour of the chord 
line were such as could not be controverted 
and the scheme was carried. I do not 



DECISION TO CONSTRUCT THB CHORD LINE. 41 

think that at the present day any better 
arguments could be advanced in favour of 
the grand chord line now under construction. 
The position at the time was that the single 
line via the loop could not carry the traffic 
oflTering, in fact it was the general opinion 
that it could not carry sufficient traffic to earn 
more than a net revenue of 5 per cent. 
Therefore the question to decide was whether 
this single line, traversing a round about 
route should be doubled, or whether a new 
line by a shorter route should be constructed. 
The decision was in favour of the short-er route, 
but in the meantime considerable pressure 
was put upon the Secretary of State and the 
Board to double the loop or old line, as well 
as to construct the new route via the chord. 
The Government of India and the Bengal 
Chamber of Commerce both urged upon the 
Secretary of State the necessity for this being 
done, but the Board shared the opinion of 
their chief engineer, Mr. Power, that such 
a course was quite unnecessary and even- 
tually the Secretary of State accepted the 
views of the Board. That these views were 
correct is proved by the fact that up to 
the present time the loop line remains 
single and fully meets traffic require- 
ments. 

The work of constructing the chord line 
was exceedingly slow and it was not opened 
for public traffic until the 1st January 
1871, although the centre line had been set 



42 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

out by the engineers early in 1865. It is 
true that the country is broken and difficult 
and that the thick jungle necessitated very 
close examination to select the best ground, 
but after all this had been done there were 
great difficulties with the contractors who 
nad taken up the work of construction and 
it was on this account that the chief delay 
occurred. 

The bridge over the Jumna at ^Lllahabad 
was opened for traffic on the 15th August, 
1865. It had taken nearly 8 years to construct 
and its completion wm a subject for much 
congratulation ; it was the middle link in the 
long chain of unbroken communication 
established by the East Indian Railway, for 
the first time in the history of India, between 
the right bank of the Hooghly at Calcutta 
and the left bank of the Jumna at Delhi. 
Mr. Sibley, the Chief Engineer of the North- 
West Provinces and Messrs. Collett and 
Donne, the District and Assistant Engineers 
and the subordinate staff under them received 
the thanks of Government and the encomiums 
of the Board. 

The only remaining works of construction 
now in hand were the bridge across the Jumna 
at Delhi together with the station arrange- 
ments in that city, the Jubbulpore branch and 
the chord line with its branch to the Giridih 
collieries. It was also decided to double part 
of the line, which was then all single with the 
exception of the Burdwan-Howrah section. 



OPENING THROUGH TO DELHI. 43 

The Jumna bridge at Delhi was openeji for 
traffic in 1866, this was the last of the great 
bridges and its completion meant in the 
words of Mr. Crawford, the Chairman of the 
Board, that "a passenger starting from Cal- 
cutta could cross the river in one of the 
Company's ferry boats to their present ter- 
minus at Howrah and from thence, by one 
of the Company's trains proceed to the city 
of Delhi in the same carriage over the whole 
distance/' 

The Jubbulpore branch was not completed 
and opened for traffic before the 1st June, 
1867, out prior to this date a temporary coach 
service was established between Jubbulpore 
and Nagpur, the then terminus of the Great 
Indian Peninsular Railway, so that passen- 

fers were able to proceed from Calcutta to 
Bombay and vice versa, the journey from 
Calcutta occupying about five days and the 
cost being Rs. 231-2-6. Rather different to 
the ordinary first class fare of Rs. 91-11-0 
now in force. 

A word as to the growth of traffic is now 
desirable. For the first time in the history of 
the undertaking, the net earnings during the 
half vear ended the 30th June, 1866, enabled a 
dividend to be declared, exceeding the guaran- 
teed interest of 5 per cent., the additional 
dividend was at the rate of J per cent, and so 
within 12 years of the opening of its first 
section, the corner was turned in which the 
Railway began to earn something beyond 



£ - 


%. 


d. 


ai 1,680 


14 


10 


263,025 


1 


9 


269,406 


10 


6 


439,964 


9 


3 


625,894 


12 


4 


928,751 


1 


11 


1,119,316 


6 


2 



44 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

%vhat the Groverment had guaranteed to the 
shareholders. 

In a previous chapter the annual net 
earnings were given to the end of 1859, and 
continuing this we find them to have been 
during the next seven years : — 

I860 

1861 

1862 ••• 

1863 

1864 

1865 

1866 

In 1859, under a million and a half passen- 
gers were carried, in 1886 the number had 
risen to considerably over fc«ir millions, while 
the weight of goods and minerals lifted had, 
in the same period, risen from 299,424 to 
802,043 tons. In the working expenses 
however there was very little improvement ; 
standing at 44*85 per cent, of the gross 
•earnings in 1859 they had only been reduced 
to 44-34 per cent, in 1866. 

The growth of traffic had, as previously 
indicated, been far beyond the most sanguine 
expectations and considerable dissatisfaction 
was expressed by the public at the inadequate 
facilities provided by the Railway. In his 
address to the shareholders on the 29th June, 
1866, Mr. Crawford referred at some length 
to the complaints made. He said : — 

** The subject of traffic naturally suggests to me the com- 
plaints which have been made in India during the last four 
months with respect to the management of our line. And 



COMPLAINTS OF INADEQUATE FACILITIES. 45 

upon that I must Bay that while, undoubtedly, a single- 
line has not been found equal to the conveyance of the 
traffic of that part of India which it serves, so efficiently as- 
we should desire, still I am bound to^sav that I cannot accept 
on the part of the Company any blame in consequence. 
It was not at all unreasonable to expect that when 
the line was completed throtkghout, the traffic of that part 
of India would be brought on our line, in a great degree 
deserting the old modes of conveyance, whether by road or 
by river. But it would have been, I apprehend, an unwise 
policy on our part to have anticipatea that event to the- 
fullest extent, even if we had the means to do so, because 
if any disappointment had ensued, then I think, the Direc- 
tors would have been fairly chargeable with something ap- 
proaching to rashness if they had embarked your money in 
an unnecessary outlay." 

Such was the explanation of the Chairman 
of the Directors, and from it, if from nothing^ 
else, the fact clearly stands out that the 
traffic to be carried far exceeded all anticipa- 
tions. The Railway in short was quite 
unprepared for the demands made upon it,. 
but considering the expenditure that im- 
provements of facilities would have involved,, 
caution was needed and the Directors could 
not be blamed for exercising caution or for 
taking time to consider and examine what 
was best to be done. The merchants of 
Calcutta held a meeting at which some 
resolutions were passed, first '*That no* 
check of any kind should be placed on the 
supply of rolling stock till the requirements^ 
of the traffic are satisfied." Secondly " That 
the line should be doubled throughout its 
entire length with as little delay as possible/" 
Thirdly "That by means of a bridge over 
the Hooghly at Calcutta, the terminus of the 



46 BISTORT OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

line should be transferred from Howrah to 
the metropolis, and if possible, to some 
•central position which shall form a terminus 
common to all lines entering this City." 

Now it would have cost probably six 
millions sterling to double the line through- 
out and to add such a supply of stock as 
would meet all the requirements of the busiest 
43eason and the interests of the shareholders 
had to be considered — but apart from this it 
would not have been possible at the time to 
raise in London so large an amount of addi- 
tional capital. Therefore the Board had to add 
to the facilities by degrees. Over 99 per cent, 
of the capital of the East Indian Kailway had 
been subscribed in London and the Chairman 
held the opinion that it was not quite reason- 
able that merchants in India should expect 
other people to find an unlimited amount for 
the purpose of enabling the Railway, upon an 
emergency, to meet every possible demand 
made upon it. " But," he added, " with a 

freat traflSc existing, with the certainty 
efore us that the traffic when fully developed 
will be sufficient to pay a very large return, 
•even as a double line, I have no doubt what- 
ever, that our policy of gradually doubling 
the line at convenient places, from time to 
time, and as gradually stocking it, will 
answer all the just expectations that can be 
•entertained of us." 

At this time the line was about to be 
doubled from Luckieserai, where the Chord 



ADDITIONS TO BOLUKG STOCK. 47 

and Loop lines met, as far as Allahabad and 
arrangements had been made for the supply 
of no less than 215 additional locomotives. 
In addition to this the rolling stock was 
being materially added to, so that the Board 
of Directors were doing all that could well 
be expected of them and were by no means 
asleep to the position. 



CHAPTER IV. 

The AuGNMiNT of the East Indian Rail- 
way AND OTHER MATTERS. 

The actual route the East Indian Railway 
should follow on its course from Calcutta 
to Delhi, naturally formed a subject for 
much controversy. The general idea was to 
get to Delhi through Mirzapore and the 
original survey was made with the intention 
of taking the line very much along the 
course of the route now being constructed 
as the Grand Chord ; it was in fact at first 
proposed to run the lower section of the 
railroad in as direct a line as possible to 
Benares. 

Had this idea been adopted, the selection 
would not have been without distinct 
advantages. It would, in the first place, 
have given a far shorter route to the 
North- West Provinces than that afforded 
by the Loop line ; secondly it would 
have led to the discovery of the Jherriah Coal- 
field forty years earlier than it was actually 
opened up ; and thirdlv, it would have al- 
tered the whole complexion of the Indian 
Mutiny, for without any great pressure on 
the resources of the engineers the shorter 



DECISION IN FAVOUR OF THK LOOP LINE ROUTE. 4^ 

route could easily have been completed as 
far as RajgMt, on the banks of the river 
Gangesopposite Benares, before the summer of 
1857. If this much had been accomplished, 
Benares, instead of Calcutta, would have 
formed our military base, the massacre of 
Cawnpore would have been unheard of and 
Lucknow would never have been besieged. 
Our troops would, in short, have only had to 
deal with Delhi, and the East Indian Railway 
would have been the means of ^ving at least 
half the bloodshed, and of terminating the 
struggle in quarter the time actually taken. 
When the Mutiny broke out the rail ended 
at Raneegunge, that is to say, within 121 
miles of Calcutta, and when time meant 
everything and each day was precious, it 
took troops the best part of three weeks to 
march from the rail head to Benares, while 
the conveyance of stores and munitions of 
war took still longer. 

At least two years were lost in discussion, 
but at last the decision was come to, to take 
the main line more or less along the course of 
the Granges, the chief object being " to tap 
the river at Rajmahal." When, however, the 
railway got as far as Rajmahal, there was 
no river to tap, as in the meantime the 
Ganges had changed its course and the im- 
portance of Rajmahal had gone. But apart 
from this, the idea of making the main line 
vid the loop and constructing a branch line 
to the Raneegunge coal field, committed the 

H, BIB 4 



50 HISl'ORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

railway to an impossible course for its up- 
country coal traflBc. It meant that all coal 
for Upper India had first to be conveyed fifty 
miles m a downward direction, and then had 
to be sent upwards by the roundabout loop 
line. To illustrate in some measure what 
this amounted to when put into mileage, it 
is only necessary to say that the openmg ot 
the present Chord line effected a saving of 
146 miles between Raneegunge and Benares, 
while the opening of the Grand Chord line 
will mean the saving of another 50 miles be- 
tween the same points. 

On the other hand there is much to be 
said in favour of the decision to run the 
original main line along the fertile valley of 
the Ganges. Setting aside the fact that, 
before the days of railroads, the river wao the 
chief means of transport and the main route 
of commerce, all the more important towns 
and trading centres such as Bhagulpur, 
Monghyr and Patna lay along its banks, and 
seeing that the first object of the railway, 
from a commercial point of view, was to 
secure traflBc, it was most desirable that 
these towns should be served. They were 
the marts for the disposal of the produce of 
the adjoining districts, including the trans- 
Ganges districts which were then, of course, 
without railroads of any kind. It was more 
necessary to open out this part of the country 
than to run a railway through a coalfield, 
which, seeing that there was then but a 



RBASONB IN FAVOUR OF THK LOOP LINE ROUTB. 61 

small market for the disposal of coal, was 
unlikely to yield a traflBe for many years ; 
or to traverse an unprofitable route, at a time 
when the first need was to draw to the 
railway a traffic that existed and only needed 
to be secured and developed. Had the 
railway in the first instance been constructed 
through the hills of Hazaribagh, traversing 
a wild and thinly populated country, while 
the fertile and thickly peopled districts of 
the Gangetic plain were left untouched, 
there is little doubt that the financial success 
of the undertaking would have remained 
for a long period unassured. It is true that 
if, in the first instance, the main line of rail 
had followed the direct route, a branch line 
might have been constructed from, say, Gya 
to JPatna, and that the East Indian Railway 
Company's Collieries at Giridih might have 
been reached in a reverse direction, from the 
vicinity of Parasnath, still the great dis- 
tricts bordering the best part of the Ganges 
would have been left untouched, and the 
whole of the traffic they contribute to the 
rail would have been lost. 

On the v-hole therefore, the decision to 
run the original main line via the loop was a 
wise one, notwithstanding the fact that this 
route involved the crossing of all the water- 
ways which drained into the Ganges, and so 
necessitated an enormous amount of bridging; 
notwithstanding also that it was the more 
expensive route to construct. It may also 



52 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

be said that had this route not been followed 
by the East Indian Railway at the outset, 
another company would certainly have 
stepped in ; the Great Western of Bengal 
Railway was in fact formed with this very 
object. 

An alternative which does not appear to 
have been discussed, but has occurred to 
the writer, would have been to continue the 
loop line as far as Moghalsarai and to con- 
struct the main line by the route which the 
Grand Chord will follow. This would have 
saved the construction of the present Chord 
between Sitarampur and Luckieserai, a sec- 
tion of the line which is not at all profit- 
able, except for the Giridih branch, which 
could have been constructed in the reverse 
direction. 

The loop line had not been opened long 
when the necessity for the Chord or present 
main line was established, and its construc- 
tion decided upon; it would have been a 
fatal error if, instead of constructing the 
Chord line, the single line along the loop 
had, as some proposed, been doubled. It 
was enough that, at a time when railroads 
in India were mere experiments, the em- 
bankments and bridges of the loop were 
constructed to carry a double line, though 
to this day a single line is ample for its 
traffic requirements. 

In the meantime other questions as to 
alignment arose, the more important being 



ALIGNMENT BKTWKKN AGRA AND DBLHI. 53 

that in relation to the route to be followed 
between Agra and Delhi. It was at first 
decided to cross the Jumna at Agra and to 
run the line along the right bank of that 
river to Delhi ; this was indeed the more 
direct route and work was actually started 
on it, part of the embankment being in 
evidence to this day. Before, however, 
any rails were laid, a discussion arose and as a 
consequence a change was introduced ; the 
Government decided that the better course 
was to construct a branch line to Agra, in 
the same way that a branch line had been 
constructed to the river Ganges opposite 
Benares, and that the main line should be 
taken along the Ganges Doab, that is to say, 
between tihe Ganges and Jumna rivers, 
crossing the latter at Delhi instead of at 
Agra. Here again the great advantage was 
that more important towns would be served, 
and a still more fertile country traversed, 
than by following the shorter and more 
direct route along the right bank of the 
Jumna. These being the facts it seems 
particularly unjust that years afterwards, 
overlooking the claims of the East Indian, 
the construction of the direct line between 
Agra and Delhi should have been given by 
Government to a competing railway ; yet 
this is what has been done and a Wes- 
tern India line now owns the route originally 
proposed by the East Indian Railway, and 
competes for its traffic. 



54 HIBTORT OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Having reached Delhi the primary object 
of the East Indian Railway was accom- 
plished. It is unnecessary to refer again 
to the controversy as to the entry into 
Delhi and the proposal that the East Indian 
Railway should be continued to Lahore, we 
know how these questions were settled ; 
it is enough to say that, at the time, the 
Directors were satisfied with what had 
been accomplished, and that until after the 
appointment of General Sir Richard Strachey 
as Chairman of the Board, nothing more in 
the way of extension or construction was 
undertaken, although, as indicated elsewhere, 
the claim of the East Indian Railway to 
construct the Grand Chord line was, from 
time to time, strongly pressed on the Govern- 
ment. The story of the Grand Chord line 
is dealt with in another chapter ; it would 
have been hard indeed had the making of 
this route been also entrusted to another 
system. 

Time passed, and the construction of other 
railways proceeded apace. The Govern- 
ment of India came to the conclusion that 
in order to open up those parts of the 
country, off the main routes, where traffic 
was not likely to be heavy, certain railways 
should be constructed on the metre gauge, 
instead of on the broad gauge which had 
been accepted as the standard when railway 
construction began. In this way_the_ jla^- 
putana Railway came Into "existence and has 



RAIL COKNBCTION WITH SIMLA. 55 

ever since been saddled ^th the^ tranship- 
ment difficulty, at every point ar^i;^idi_it^ 
joins a broad gauge line ; a severe-bandioap 
in many ways, but particularly so where 
competitio n^ ex is^ There are few who 
doubt now that metre gauge lines should 
only be constructed as feeders to broad 
gauge railways, but so far as the writer 
knows, there is no definite policy in the 
matter. 

In their anxiety to make railways cheaply, 
the Government also sanctioned a metre 
gauge railway between Muttra and Hathras, 
which was afterwards extended to Agra on . 
the one side and to Cawnpore on the other. 
This line was made within the sphere of 
influence of the East Indian and at once 
started to compete for its traffic. How it 
was that the East Indian Railway failed to 
protest against the scheme is not clear, but 
it is evident that this line should have been 
constructed on the broad gauge, as part of 
the East Indian system which it crosses. 

In 1889 a Company was formed to connect 
the East Indian Railway with the summer 
head-quarters of the Government of India 
in Simla. This line, starting from Delhi 
and termiaating at Kalka at the foot of the 
Simla hills, is known as the Delhi-Umballa- 
Kalka Railway, and is worked by the East 
Indian as part of its system. Since then a 
Railway on a 2' 6" gauge has been con- 
structed between Kalka and Simla which is 



56 HISTORY OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

managed as a separate concern, but has not 
so far proved a financial success ; the cost of 
its construction seems to have been a great 
deal heavier than at first anticipated, while 
its traffic is inconsiderable. 

The South Behar Railway which runs 
from Luckieserai Junction to Gya is another 
lipe constructed by a company but worked 
by the East Indian, and in the same way 
the East Indian works the Tarkessur Rail- 
way, a short branch from Sheoraphuli to 
Tarkessur. The Patna-Gya line originally 
constructed by the State and worked as a 
State line, and the branch from Nalhati to 
Azimgunge, which had also become a State 
Railway before it was handed over to the 
East Indian and its gauge altered, are now 
incorporated with the East Indian, and there 
is little doubt that the South Behar should 
be treated in the same way. 



CHAPTER V. 

Trade depression— Mr. A. M. Rendel visits 
India again and criticises the working 
OF THE East Indian Railway — Estab- 
lishment OP A Provident Fund. 

Following several years of progress and 
successive seasons of increase, a temporary 
check set in in 1867. The period was marked 
by extreme depression in trade, and added to 
this the country was visited by abnormal 
floods, rendering the roads to the stations im- 
passable for heavy traflSc. The cotton boom 
of 1866, which had done so much to increase 
the receipts that year, was at an end, and 
under all heads of merchandise there was a 
falling off*, though fortunately the passenger 
traffic continued to grow. 

This change in the march of progress at 
once drew attention to the question of 
expenditure, and the point was raised whether 
it was really necessary or desirable to pro- 
ceed with all the difterent works that had 
been sanctioned. Mr. A. M. Rendel, the 
Companj^'s Consulting Engineer, was accord- 
ingly deputed to visit India again, to in- 
vestigate the question on the spot, in 
communication with the officers of the 
Company and of the Government, and to 
consider in regard to works in contemplation 
or in course of execution, whether they 



58 HISTORY OF THE B. I. KAILWAY. 

should be proceeded with or deferred. Mr. 
Rendel proceeded to India in November 
1867, and returning in March 1868, submitted 
a very full report on the various matters 
relating to his mission. He found that the 
great growth in expenditure during the 
preceding two years had been in advance of 
the natural development of the traffic, and 
as a consequence, many works which were 
projected, when it seemed that the power of 
the Railway to carry traffic was the sole limit 
to its use, were indefinitely postponed. Among 
others the doubling of the line between 
Gahmar station and Allahabad was deferred 
resulting in a saving of about £527,000. 
He reviewed the question relating to the 
construction of a bridge across the Hooghly 
river at Calcutta ; dealt with the detail of 
duty performed by rolling-stock, stated his 
view that the mileage run was out of pro- 
portion to the work done and criticised the 
working generally. He advocated mixed 
trains and a reduction in the third class fare 
from 3 to 2^ pie per mile, and investigated 
fuel consumption and numerous other matters. 
He also advocated that the whole line should 
be placed under one, instead of three chief 
Engineers, examined generally the establish- 
ment employed and proposed certain rules 
relating to the salaries of the staff and 
so forth. He altered the form of statistics 
shewing cost of working the line and made 
many suggestions which could not fail to 



PROVIDBNT FUND BSTABLISHBD. 59 

be beneficial, and were for the most part 
adopted. 

At this time one of the most difficult 
questions which had presented itself to the 
Board, in the organisation and management 
of the staff in India, had been how to meet 
the claims constantly urged for the payment 
of pensions, after a given period of service^ 
founded upon the analogy of the Government 
services. The Company's European staff 
consisted of gentlemen, drawn chiefly from 
the best managed English lines, and it was 
felt that, without some retiring provision 
being made for them, the railway service in 
India did not form sufficient attraction. 
Various schemes, with a view to make the 
service more popular, were suggested, both at 
home and in India, but until 1 867 every such 
proposition was found, from one cause or an- 
other, to blB impracticable. In that year the 
conclusion was come to, after much anxious 
consideration, that the best mode of meeting 
the difficulty was to establish a Provident 
Fund, in the advantages of which all the ser- 
vants of the Company, European and native, 
receiving a monthly pay of Rs. 30 and up- 
wards should participate, the Fund being 
supported by contributions from the staff, 
assisted by the Company. 

It was proposed : — 

1st. That the present staff shall contri- 
bute to the Fund only if they think fit ; 
but that all persons joining the service on 



60 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

and from a given date, with a monthly pay 
of Rs. 30 or over, and those who may be 
promoted to this pay, shall be required to do 
so. 

2nd. That the staff shall be divided into 
two Classes — Class A consisting of all 
European servants of the Company and 
Class B comprising all servants of the Com- 
pany not Europeans. 

3rd. That those in Class A shall contribute 
5 per cent, and those in Class B 2^ per cent, 
on their respective monthly salaries. 

4th. That the Company shall contribute 
annually 1 per cent, on the surplus net 
earnings, after 6 per cent, per annum has 
been appropriated to the Company and the 
Government, in the terms of their contract, 
together with 1 per cent, on the 6 per cent, so 
appropriated so far as the surplus will admit 
of the said contributions. 

5th. That the monies of the Fund shall be 
invested, from time to time, either in Indian 
Government securities or in railway stock, 
and that subject to rules and regulations to be 
prescribed by the Board, the Fund and all 
accruing interest shall be the property of 
the respective members of the staff in the 
ratio of their subscriptions. 

Such were the rules of the original 
Provident Fund. Its creation was beneficial 
to the staff in numerous ways and it had the 
effect of giving every servant a direct per- 
sonal interest in the economical working of 



OPENING OF JUBBULPOBB BRANCH. 61 

the line, but it has never to this day given 
any employee a sufficient retiring allowance, 
and although various changes have been 
made in the original scheme, all of which 
have been introduced with the object of assist- 
ing the subscribers, a strong feeling exists 
that something more is needed. 

In 1867 overtures were made to the Board 
to take over the Nalhati Branch Railway, 
constructed by a company known as the 
Indian Branch Railway Company, but the 
Board then declined to entertain them, as 
they were not prepared at the time "to 
construct or work any more branch lines." 
It was not until about 30 years afterwards 
that this railway, which in the meantime 
had been transferred to the State anovwas 
known as the Nalhati State Railway, was 
taken over by the East Indian and converted 
into a broad gauge line. It is kno\vn now as 
the Azimgunge branch line, and is part and 
parcel of the undertaking. 

The Jubbulpore line was opened on the 
1st August, 1867, before the Great Indian 
Peninsular Railway was ready to connect, 
and in the same year it was decided to 
construct a road bridge between Howrah and 
Calcutta, though whether this work should 
be undertaken by direct Government agency, 
or committed to the Municipality with 
Government assistance, was not then settled^ 

During the second half year of 1868 the 
traffic shewed signs of reviving and the net 



62 HISTORY OF TBB B. I. RAILWAY. 

receipts of the year exceeded those of 1866, 
but the depression was not yet over and the 
development of traffic for some time was 
very gradual. 

The following statement shews the net 
earnings of the Company from 1866 to 1869 
inclusive : — 

£ s. d. 

1866 ... .. ... I,1I9,.316 6 2 

1867 ... ... ... 1,076,741 12 8 

1868 ... ... ... 1,217,620 16 8 

1869 ... ... ... 1,446,322 6 10 

The increases shewn in the net earnings 
would not have been so great but for the 
fact that working expenses w- ere considerably 
reduced. By 1869 they had been brought 
down to 41*57 per cent, of the gross earnings. 
In this year the number of passengers car- 
ried was 4,911,018 and the weight of goods 
and minerals 1,261,113 tons. 

In 1869 the East Indian Railway Volun- 
teer Rifle Corps was formed, Mr. Edward 
Palmer, the Agent, was the first Honorary 
Colonel and about 416 servants of the Com- 
pany at once enrolled themselves. The number 
of members has since increased very greatly 
and the corps is now over 2,300 strong with 
very few inefficients. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Opening of the Chord line followed by 

A TEMPORARY SLUMP IN TRAFFIC ThE 

Bengal famine of 1873-4 — Reductions 
IN rates — Coal exported from Calcutta 
— Analysis op statistics introduced. 

The year 1870 opened with the Chord Hne 
still awaiting completion, but otherwise this 
was the only important work of construction 
that remained unfinished. 

The Chord line was opened for pubUc 
traffic on the 1st January 1871, and on this 
date the work of constructing the East 
Indian Railway was considered to have 
ended. The engagements of all engineers 
not required for the maintenance of the line 
were now terminated, and the Board directed 
that the permanent staff should " be fixed at 
the lowest scale consistent with the nature 
of the duties to be performed." 

The opening of the Chord route increased 
the mileage of the Railway to 1,280 miles — 
400 miles being double and 880 miles single — 
but no sooner had the Railway been thus 
far completed than a serious decline in traffic 
set in. The tonnage of goods and minerals 
carried during the first half of 1871 was 
580,378 tons, against 700,804 tons in the 
corresponding half year of 1870. The 



64 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Company's goods sheds were empty, its 
wagons lay idle in sidings and many of its 
engines were put out of running. The 
Government of India were so concerned that 
they appointed a Committee to investigate 
the cause. 

But there were no doubts as to the chief 
reasons of the decrease ; in 1870 an excep- 
tionally large famine traffic had been carried 
in consequence of a scarcity in the North- 
West Provinces, while the export seed trade 
of 1871 was much smaller than in the prece- 
ding year, because of a dull market in Calcutta, 
and because, in the words of the Board, the 
merchants, whenever the market was dull, 
" preferred the somewhat cheaper though 
more dilatory conveyance afforded by the 
river, which, owing to a very heavy rainfall, 
became navigable at an earlier period of 
the year than usual." Then again the Board 
tell us of another cause of decreased traffic, 
which is curious reading in these days, "the 
importations of English coal at Calcutta, 
as compared with any previous period since 
the Railway has been opened, have been so 
large as to have successfully competed m 
price with native coal, and have unques- 
tionably very seriously interfered with the 
market for the latter." 

The Committee appointed by Government 
do not appear to have thrown any fresh light 
on the question, but there is little doubt that 
the rates charged at the time were excessive, 



RBTIRBMBNT OF MR. E. PALMEU. 65 

or traflfic would not have fluctuated as it did 
between the river and the rail. A change in 
the mode of regulating the charge for carriage 
was sorely needed, though the point was not 
seriously taken up until some years later, 
when the experiences of a serious famine 
shewed what the possibilities were. Greater 
attention seems, however, to have been paid 
to^ lowering the cost of transport, and a 
fmiiher reduction in the working expenses 
followed. In the first half of 1872 these 
were brought down to 38*66 per cent, of the 
gross earmngs and in 1873 to 37 per cent. 

In 1873 Mr. E. Palmer, who had succeeded 
Sir Macdonald Stephenson in May 1857 and 
had held the oflfice of sole Agent until 1866, 
when a fresh Board of Agency, of which he 
became Chairman, was constituted, retired. 
Mr. Palmer left the East Indian Railway, the 
foremost line in India for financial success, 
and in the words of the Consulting Engineer 
to the Government of India, " second to none 
in vigour of administration." The Govern- 
ment of India also expressed their apprecia- 
tion of Mr. Palmer's "long and loyal service 
and high character." 

The Agency was now reconstructed, and 
instead of consisting of three members, was 
conducted by two only, Messrs. Cecil 
Stephenson and George Sioley. 

Owing to a failure of the rains in 1873 a 
famine occurred in Bengal, and the following 
extract from Mr. Crawford's address to the 
BIR ?> 



66 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

shareholders indicates the measures taken 
by the Government of India and the Rail- 
way Company to assist the people during 
that calamity : — 

" The Directors had placed the line at the disposal of the 
Government. The Railway rate was fo?. per ton per mile, 
but the Government was sending the people provisions at a 
much less carriage charge than that, and made up the 
deficiency to the Company. Apart, however, from all 
questions of profit, it was a source of sincere gratification 
to the Directors, that they were able to render substantial 
assistance to the (Government, in supplying the population 
of fiensal with food. Qiving the Government the assist- 
ance of all their locomotive plant, they were enabled to 
deliver 4,000 tons of grain daily for the use of the people." 

From the 1st November 1873 to the 3rd 
September 1874, the quantity of food grains 
carried into the famine-stricken districts and 
delivered at stations between Rajmahal and 
Arrah, was estimated at nearly seven hundred 
and fifty thousand tons. The traffic consisted 
chiefly of rice from Howrah, and of other 
grain from the North- West Provinces, and 
was consigned partly on Government and 
partly on private account. 

In order to convey and accommodate so 
large an addition to the ordinary business of 
the Company, some thirty additional engines 
were erected and brought into use ; forty-six 
drivers and firemen were sent out from 
England, and ten were lent by the Madras 
Railway ; wagons were hired from the Bom- 
bay Baroda and Central India Railway ; 
the staff* of guards was largely augmented ; 
watchmen were engaged to protect the grain 



FAMINE IN BENGAL. 67 

lying at stations ; and sidings to the river 
6anges were laid, for the use of the Govern- 
ment, at Mokameh, Barh, and Futwah. 

The half-yearly report of the Directors 
referring to this subject states that " the 
desire of the Board effectively to support 
the efforts of the Government in coping 
successfully with this, perhaps the greatest 
exigency of modern times, has been most 
ably and efficiently seconded and sustained 
throughout, by the unwearied and zealous 
co-operation of the whole of the service." 
Put in another way the East Indian Railway 
had been the main instrument by which a 
dire calamity had been prevented from 
attaining the proportions of a fearful catas- 
trophe. This had been done without any 
interference whatever with the regular 
traffic of the country and at a rate which 
left no burden upon the Indian exchequer. 
The Railway, it was alleged, "was not a 
competitor with the river Ganges for the 
supply of the food required by the starving 
population, but merely another instrument in 
the hands of the Government for accom- 
plishing their object." 

As a result of the Bengal famine, con- 
siderable attention was given to the grain 
rates, and the wants of the different districts 
served by the Railway were carefully studied 
with a view to developing traffic generally. 
Perhaps the most important lesson learnt 
was that, in the upper part of India, there 



68 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

was a very large growth of grain and espe- 
cially of wheat, a good deal of which found its 
way down the river Indus to the sea at 
Kurrachee. In a favourable season there 
was an immense surplus to dispose of and 
efforts were made to draw this produce to 
Calcutta, by quoting lower rates for its car- 
riage than had previously been thought 
of. These efforts proved in a large measure 
successful ; by introducing considerably re- 
duced grain rates, a valuable traffic was 
drawn to the line and a profitable business 
established. 

The only section of the Railway which 
was not doing so well as anticipated was the 
Jubbulpore branch, its local traffic was poor 
and the traffic interchanged with the Great 
Indian Peninsular Railway nominal. The 
Chairman said in his address in July 1874, 
"the Jubbulpore line must be considered 
for the present in the light of a political 
line, and it is very useful to travellers ; but 
as regards the trade and commerce of the 
countiy, the line has not done much." The 
Jubbulpore branch runs for the most part 
through an uncultivated waste, poorly popu- 
lated, and has always been the least paying 
portion of the Railway. 

In 1873 some Bengal coal was taken by 
Madras for the use of the Madras Railway, 
and some was conveyed to Singapore for the 
manufacture of gas, and some to Bombay 
for cotton spinning works. The quantity 



THB CHORD ROUTE AND THK COAL TRAFFIC. 69 

exported was small, but this was the first 
recorded trade in export coal and at the time 
quite a new feature in the traffic. While on 
the subject of coal, it is well to s*iy a few 
words as to the result of opening the Chord 
line route. It will be remembered that ont^ 
of the reasons for constructing this route 
was that it would have the effect of bringing 
the Bengal coalfields nearer to the centre 
of the Company's system. The policy of the 
Board had often been questioned on the score 
of the initial expense, and on the grounds 
that the Chord route ran through an unprofit- 
able tract of country, which its opponents 
thought was adequately served by the original 
branch line to the Kaneegunge collieries. 
In 1875 Mr. Crawford in his address to the 
shareholders dwelt on this subject ; he said : — 

" Tbey might now look upon the policy involved in the 
construction of that line with the utmost satisfaction. It 
had placed at their command that ample and abundant 
supply of fuel, which had enabled them to carry on their 
operations, without any fear whatever of being brought 
Dto difficulty for want of it." 

Not only did the Chord line place at the 

ervice of the Company and of the public, 

acluding foreign railways, a vast quantity of 

asily accessible coal, but in opening out new 

)urces of supply, it brought about, not only 

reduction in cost, but a better quality of fuel 

lan that obtainable from Raneegunge itself 

During 1875 considerable changes were 

ewle in the personnel of the administration 

Calcutta, Mr. Cecil Stephenson, Chief 



70 HISTORY OF THE E. I. RAILWAY. 

Agent, died, and Mr. Sibley, who had been 
Chief Engineer for many years, retired, and 
seeing that all construction works of any 
magnitude were at an end, it was thought 
unnecessary to retain the services of both an 
Agent and a Chief Engineer. Mr. Bradford 
LesHe, now Sir Bradford Leslie, who had 
formerly been Chief Engineer of the Eastern 
Bengal Railway Company and had after- 
wards been employed in building the floating 
road bridge over the Hooghly, was selected 
to fill the dual appointment of Agent and 
Chief Engineer. 

Shortly after Mr. Cecil Stephenson's death 
a tablet to his memory was placed on the 
wall of Howrah Station and a copy of the 
inscription on it is here given : — 

In Memory of 
CECIL MACKINTOSH STEPHENSON, 

Agent of the 

EAST INDIAN RAILWAY COMPANY, 

Who died at Sea on the 21st November 1875, aged 66. 

THIS TABLET IS ERECTED 

As A MARK OF TIIEIR SINCERE ESTEEM AND ReSPBCT 

By more than five thousand Officers and Men 

Of the East Indian Railway 

(And others desiring to join), 

Who have also placed a similar Tablet 

In the Calcutta Cathedral, 

And Instituted a Scholarship 

In the Diocesan School at Naini Tal 

FOR SONS OF EAST INDIAN RAILWAY 
SERVANTS. 



ANALYSIS OF 8TATI8TIC8. 71 

The following statement shows the net 
earnings of the Company from 1870 to 1875 
inclusive : — 







£, s. d. 


1870 ... 


... 


... 1,649,628 17 


1871 ... 


... 


... 1,380,377 1 8 


1872 ... 


• •• 


... 1,483,386 11 


1873 ... 


... 


... 1,686,338 6 2 


1874 ... 




... 2,196,877 1 5 


1876 ... 


... 


... 1,624,333 6 3 



The figures combine the earnings of the 
main and Jubbulpore lines, though at this 
time the accounts were separately kept, and 
are interesting as shewing the effect of the 
famine traffic of 1873-74. They also shew, 
excluding the two exceptionally poor years, 
1871-72, when trade was more or less stag- 
nant and everything depressed, that following 
the famine there was a distinct development. 

In 1871 we find for the first time an 
analysis of statistical figures much in the 
form in which they are given at the present 
time. The principle of these statistics was 
laid down by Sir Alexander Rendel ( then 
Mr. Rendel) in conjunction with Colonel 
Strachey, b.e., now Sir Richard Strachey, 
Chairman of the Board, and will be referred 
to in greater detail elsewhere. It is sufficient 
to say here that according to the first analysis 
the average load of a goods train on the 
main line was 109 tons and on the Jubbulpore 
branch 68 tons. At the present time an 
average load of under 275 tons is considered 
poor. 



CHAPTEK VII. 

Visit op the Prince of Wales to India — 
Reductions in rates — Economies in work- 
ing. — The Madras Famine and shortage op 
STOCK — General Strachey visits India. — 
The Giridih Collieries — Prosperity op 
THE Undertaking. 

In 1875-1876 His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales visited India and great 

S reparations were made to afford him a 
loyal welcome. That the efforts made to 
ensure his comfort while travelling on the 
East Indian Railway were successful, is 
proved by the following extract from the 
Gazette of India, dated 22nd April 1876 : — 

" On the East Indian Railway, His Rojal Highness the 
Prince of Wales travelled in January 1876 from Howrah 
to Bankipore, and thence to Benares, also from Cawnpore 
to Delhi ; and from Delhi to Ghaziabad, on going to the 
Punjab, and from Ghaziabad to Agra in returning thence. 
In February, His Royal Highness travelled from Agra to 
Aligarh, and in March from Cawnpore to Allahabad and 
on to Jubbulpore. 

The orders issued concerning the details of working the 
Royal train by the authorities of the East Indian Rauway 
were such as to ensure punctuality in running, combined 
with all possible precautions for safety. 

On the conclusion of the journey to Jubbulpore, His 
Royal Highness was pleased to acknowledge his thanks 
personally to the Officiating Agent and Traffic Manager for 
their attention to him, and to commend the railway 
arrangements in connection with the several State cere- 
moniidt of arrival and departure of trains during the different 
jonmejs made upon the line by His Royal Highness." 



MR. A. M. RBNDIL VISITS INDIA AGAIN. 73 

The visit of His Roval Hiffhness the 
Prince of Wales resulted in a concourse of 
Native Princes and others visiting Calcutta, 
and led to a considerable increase in receipts 
from passenger traffic, but as a set-oft* tliere 
was a certain outgoing to be taken into 
account under the head of carriage building 
and outward demonstrations ; a special train 
had to be constructed, as the Prince of Wales 
could not be sent about in an ordinary 
carriage, and stations had to be decorated in 
token of loyalty ; all this cost money, but 
the Chairman in analysing the financial 
result to the Railway said : ** I dare say we 
may put it down that if His Royal Highness 
had not gone to India we should have been 
about £40,000 worse off than we are." See- 
ing that the special train constructed for the 
Prince of Wales, was used for the next 
twenty-five years as the Viceregal train, this 
result was by no means unsatisfactor3^ 

About the same time Mr. A. M. Rendel 
again visited India. The completion by the 
Government of the bridge over the Hooghly, 
between Howrah and Calcutta having ren- 
dered necessary considerable alterations at 
the Howrah terminus, Mr. Rendel was de- 
puted to investigate the requirements of the 
case on the spot Mr. Kendel not only 
dealt with the question of Howrah station 
but went over the whole line from one end 
to the other and settled various details with 
the Company's officers in India. 



74 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

Reference has been made in a previous 
chapter to the effect of the Bengal famine 
on the question of goods rates. Mr. Crawford, 
the Chairman of the Board of Directors, 
referred to this in his address to the share- 
holders in January 1877 ; he said — 

" The experience of the famine traffic had shewn us that 
ther/e was an enormous production of the soil in India of a 
very valuable character, but which had been for the most 
part necessarily retained in the districts in which it 
was grown, for the want of any other market than the 
local markets of the neighbourhood." 

This was in some measure true, but we 
have seen ah*eady that a good deal of the 
surplus production of the soil found its way 
to the seaboard by river, and particularly by 
the river Indus to Kurrachee. In 1876 the 
Government took off the export dues, which 
up till then had militated against a really 
large export trade, and at about the same 
time silver began to decline in value. The 
depreciation of silver assisted the export of 
country produce and some encouragement 
in railway rates was alone needed to draw 
the traffic to the Railway. Reductions were 
accordingly made, and as Mr. Crawford in 
another part of his address added : — 

" The e£fect of the reduction of the rates was to enable 
purchasers of wheat at Cawnpore, 684 miles from Calcutta, 
to rely upon their being able to get their wheat down to 
Calcutta for a sum not exceeding about 6s. 4d. per quarter. 
That taken into account with other elements of reduced 
cost has led to a very great and important increase in the 
trade of grain between India and this country . The same 
has been the case with seeds. The duty of the company 
was to assist by reduction of charge in facilitating the 



GROWTH OF T^R KXPORT WHBAT TRADE. 75 

removal of this large produce of grain and seeds and our ratea 
have enabled merchanto to bring their wheat to England^ 
together with their linseed and other seeds, at a cost 
which could not have been possible a very short time before." 
*' I do not see an v thing in the conditions in which this 
traffic has been carried on to deter me from expecting a 
continuance of it" 

At about the same time arrangements 
were concluded with the line then known as 
" the Sindh, Punjab and Delhi Railway," by 
which purchasers of grain in the Punjab were 
able to bring their grain to Calcutta, a dis- 
tance of 1,245 miles, at a cost of about V2s. 9d. 
per quarter, a rate which was then considered 
remarkably low. As illustratinor the growth of 
the export wheat trade, the following figures 
of exports from Calcutta are interesting, 
more than one-half being brought down by 
the East Indian Railway : — 

Years. Tons exported. 
1874 18,926 

1876 68,632 

1876 170,240 

The company was now enjoying a period 
of activity, and prospects were undoubtedly 
encouraging. The Kailw^ay was about 25 
years old and past experience justified the feel- 
ing that it would continue to prove one of the 
grandest undertakings in the world's history. 
But the success of the East Indian Railway 
was not entirely owing to the measures taken 
to develop traffic ; a large share of its 
prosperity was due to the economical condi- 
tions under which the line was worked. Mr. 
Crawford at the same meeting said, "we 



76 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

should never have arrived at a satisfactory- 
net result, if our efforts on this side to inculcate 
economy had not been most actively and 
honestly supported on the other side." His 
remarks had special reference to an outcry 
raised by the Indian newspapers of the day, as 
to the alleged injustice of replacing European 
by native labour. Mr. David Campbell, the 
Locomotive Superintendent, had recently 
promoted about 87 native firemen to appoint- 
ments, previously held by Europeans, as 
shunters and drivers of goods trains on branch 
lines, with most satisfactory results. The 
experiment carried out in the face of much 
opposition led to a considerable economy and 
naturally had the full support of the Board. 

Another economy introduced in 1877 was 
in connection with the maintenance of the 
telegraph. The Railway had established a 
line of telegraph wire on one side of the line, 
and the Government had a line of telegraph 
on the other side. This necessitated two 
telegraphic establishments, and it was ob- 
viously a waste of money that one establish- 
ment should be employed in keeping in order 
and repair the line on one side, while another 
establishment should be engaged in looking 
after the wires on the other. An arrange- 
ment was therefore come to with the Govern- 
ment, under which they undertook the repair 
and maintenance of the railway wires, and 
the Railway had no longer to keep up a 
staff of its own for the purpose. 



WAGON 8H0BTAQB DURINQ HADRAH FAMINK. 77 

A failure of the rains of 1876 led to another 
famine in India, this time in the Madras and 
Bombay Presidencies. A strong demand 
for food grains, pulses and rice set in in 
October 1876, ana continued unabated almost 
throughout 1877. The great bulk of the traffic 
flowea over the East Indian Railway from 
the North- West Provinces and the ^Punjab, 
the largest proportion going via the Jubbul- 
pore line and the Great Indian Peninsula 
Railway, but there was also a heavy traffic 
to Howrah, for transmission to Madras 
by sea. 

At the same time there was a large wheat 
and seed export trade, and consequently the 
usual sequence of a shortage of wagon 
supply. The papers in India teemed with 
expressions of disapproval of the East 
Indian Railway management, because it had 
not sufficient stock to meet the extraordinary 
demands made upon it. The facts were that 
the stock of wagons had amply sufficed to 
meet the famine requirements of 1873-74, 
but when it came to sending East Indian 
Railway wagons hundreds of miles away 
from the home line to distant Madras, it 
became impossible to meet all demands. 
Out of a total stock of 6,600 goods wagons, as 
many as 1,200 or say one-fifth were constantly 
absent from the line, conveying produce to 
the Bombay or Madras Presidencies. There 
would have been an abundant supply of 
wagons to carry our own traffic but there 



68 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

was a very large growth of grain and espe- 
cially of wheat, a good deal of which found its 
way down the river Indus to the sea at 
Kurrachee. In a favourable season there 
was an immense surplus to dispose of and 
efforts were made to draw this produce to 
Calcutta, by quoting lower rates for its car- 
riage than had previously been thought 
of. These efforts proved in a large measure 
successful ; by introducing considerably re- 
duced grain rates, a valuable traffic was 
drawn to the line and a profitable business 
established. 

The only section of the Railway which 
was not doing so well as anticipated was the 
Jubbulpore branch, its local traffic was poor 
and the traffic interchanged with the Great 
Indian Peninsular Railway nominal. The 
Chairman said in his address in July 1874, 
"the Jubbulpore line must be considered 
for the present in the light of a political 
line, and it is very useful to travellers ; but 
as regards the trade and commerce of the 
country, the line has not done much." The 
Jubbulpore branch runs for the most part 
through an uncultivated waste, poorly popu- 
lated, and has always been the least paying 
portion of the Railway. 

In 1873 some Bengal coal was taken by 
Madras for the use of the Madras Railway, 
and some was conveyed to Singapore for the 
manufacture of gas, and some to Bombay 
for cotton spinning w^orks. The quantity 



THB CHORD ROUTE AND THK COAL TKAFPIO. 69 

exported was small, but this was the first 
recorded trade in export coal and at the time 
quite a new feature m the traffic. While on 
the subject of coal, it is well to say a few 
words as to the result of opening the Chord 
line route. It will be remembered that one 
of the reasons for constructing this route 
was that it would have the effect of bringing 
the Bengal coalfields nearer to the centre 
of the Company's system. The policy of the 
Board had often been questioned on the score 
of the initial expense, and on the grounds 
that the Chord route ran through an unprofit- 
able tract of country, which its opponents 
thought was adequately served by the original 
branch line to the Kaneegunge collieries. 
In 1875 Mr. Crawford in his address to the 
shareholders dwelt on this subject ; he said : — 

'* Tbey might now look upon the policy involved in the 
CQnstmction of that line with the utmost satisfaction. It 
had placed at their command that ample and abundant 
supply of fuel, which had enabled them to carry on their 
operations, without any fear whatever of being brought 
into difficulty for want of it." 

Not only did the Chord line place at the 
service of the Company and of the public, 
including foreign railways, a vast quantity of 
»sily accessible coal, but in opening out new 
wjurces of supply, it brought about, not only 
k reduction in cost, but a better quality of fuel 
han that obtainable from Raneegunge itself. 
During 1875 considerable changes were 
lade in the personnel of the administration ^ 
I Calcutta, Mr. Cecil Stephenson, Chief M 



70 HISTORY OF THE E. I. RAILWAY. 

Agent, died, and Mr. Sibley, who had been 
Chief Engineer for many years, retired, and 
seeing that all construction works of any 
magnitude w^ere at an end, it was thought 
unnecessary to retain the services of both an 
Agent and a Chief Engineer. Mr. Bradford 
Leslie, now Sir Bradford Leslie, who had 
formerly been Chief Engineer of the Eastern 
Bengal Railway Company and had after- 
wards been employed in building the floating 
road bridge over the Hooghly, was selected 
to fill the dual appointment of Agent and 
Chief Engineer. 

Shortly after Mr. Cecil Stephenson's death 
a tablet to his memory was placed on the 
wall of Howrah Station and a copy of the 
inscription on it is here given : — 

In Memory of 
CECIL MACKINTOSH STEPHENSON. 

Agent of the 

EAST INDIAN RAILWAY COMPANY, 

Who died at Sea on the 21st November 1875, aged 56. 

THIS TABLET IS ERECTED 

As A MARK OF TIIEIR SINCERE ESTEEM AND ReSPBCT 

Bt more than five thousand Officers and Men 

Of the East Indian Railway 

(And others desiring to join), 

Who have also placed a similar Tablet 

In the Calcutta Cathedral, 

And Instituted a Scholarship 

In the Diocesan School at Naini Tal 

FOR SONS OF EAST INDIAN RAILWAY 
SERVANTS. 



ANALYSIS OF STATISTICS. 71 

The following statement shows the net 
earnings of the Company from 1870 to 1875 
inclusive : — 

£, 9. d. 

1870 ... 1,649,628 17 

1871 ... 1,380,377 1 5 

1872 ... 1,483,386 11 

1873 ... 1,686,338 6 2 

1874 ... 2,196,877 1 5 

1876 ... 1,624,333 6 3 

The figures combine the earnings of the 
main and Jubbulpore lines, though at this 
time the accounts were separately kept, and 
are interesting as shewing the effect of the 
famine traffic of 1873-74. They also shew, 
excluding the two exceptionally poor years, 
1871-72, when trade was more or less stag- 
nant and everything depressed, that following 
the famine there was a distinct development. 

In 1871 we find for the first time an 
analysis of statistical figures much in the 
form in which they are given at the present 
time. The principle of these statistics was 
laid down by Sir Alexander Rendel ( then 
Mr. Rendel) in conjunction with Colonel 
Strachey, r.e., now Sir Richard Strachey, 
Chairman of the Board, and will be referred 
to in greater detail elsewhere. It is sufficient 
to say here that according to the first analysis 
the average load of a goods train on the 
main line was 109 tons and on the Jubbulpore 
branch 68 tons. At the present time an 
average load of under 275 tons is considered 
poor. m 



CHAPTER VII. 

Visit op the Prince of Wales to India — 
Reductions in rates — Economies in work- 
ing. — The Madras Famine and shortage op 
STOCK — General Strachey visits India. — 
The Giridih Collieries — Prosperity op 
the Undertaking. 

In 1875-1876 His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales visited India and great 

Preparations were made to afford him a 
loyal welcome. That the efforts made to 
ensure his comfort while travelling on the 
East Indian Railway were successful, is 
proved by the following extract from the 
Gazette of India, dated 22nd April 1876 : — 

" On the East Indian Railway, His Eojal Highness the 
Prince of Wales travelled in January 1876 from Howrah 
to Bankipore, and thence to Benares, also from Cawnpore 
to Delhi ; and from Delhi to Ghaziabad, on going to the 
Punjab, and from Ghaziabad to Agra in returning thence. 
In February, His Royal Highness travelled from Agra to 
Aligarh, and in March from Cawnpore to Allahabad and 
on to Jubbulpore. 

The orders issued concerning the details of working the 
Royal train by the authorities of the East Indian Railway 
were such as to ensure punctuality in running, combined 
with all possible precautions for safety. 

On the conclusion of the journey to Jubbulpore, His 
Royal Highness was pleased to acknowledge his thanks 
personally to the Officiating Agent and Traffic Manager for 
their attention to him, and to commend the railway 
arrangements in connection with the several State cere- 
monials of arrival and departure of trains during the different 
journeys made upon the line by His Royal Highness." 



MR. A. M. RBMDIL VISITS INDIA AGAIN. 73 

The visit of His Roval Hiffhness the 
Prince of Wales resulted in a concourse of 
Nj\tive Princes and others visiting Calcutta, 
and led to a considerable increase in receipts 
from passenger traffic, but as a set-off' there 
was a certain outgoing to be taken into 
account under the head of carriage building 
and outward demonstrations ; a special train 
had to be constructed, as the Prince of Wales 
could not be sent about in an ordinary 
carriage, and stations had to be decorated in 
token of loyalty ; all this cost money, but 
the Chairman in analysing the financial 
result to the Railway said : ** I dare say we 
may put it down that if His Royal Highness 
had not gone to India we should have been 
about £40,000 worse off than we are." See- 
ing that the special train constructed for the 
Prince of Wales, was used for the next 
twenty-five years as the Viceregal train, this 
result was by no means unsatisfactory. 

About the same time Mr. A. M. Rendel 
again visited India. The completion by the 
Government of the bridge over the Hooghly, 
between Howrah and Calcutta having ren- 
dered necessary considerable alterations at 
the Howrah terminus, Mr. Rendel was de- 
puted to investigate the requirements of the 
case on the spot Mr. Kendel not only 
dealt with the question of Howrah station 
but went over the whole line from one end 
to the other and settled various details with 
the Company's officers in India. 



I 



74 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Reference has been made in a previoua 
chapter to the effect of the Bengal famine 
on the question of goods rates. Mr. Crawford^ 
the Chairman of the Board of Directors, 
referred to this in his address to the share- 
holders in January 1877 ; he said — 

" The experience of the famine traffic had shewn us that 
there was an enormous production of the soil in India of a 
very valuable character, but which had been for the most 
part necessarily retained in the districts in which it 
was grown, for the want of any other market than the 
local markets of the neighbourhood." 

This was in some measure true, but we 
have seen already that a good deal of the 
surplus production of the soil found its way 
to the seaboard by river, and particularly by 
the river Indus to Kurrachee. In 1876 the 
Government took off the export dues, which 
up till then had militated against a really 
large export trade, and at about the same 
time silver began to decline in value. The 
depreciation of silver assisted the export of 
country produce and some encouragement 
in railway rates was alone needed to draw 
the traffic to the Railway. Reductions were 
accordingly made, and as Mr. Crawford in 
another part of his address added : — 

'* The effect of the reduction of the rates was to enable 
purchasers of wheat at Cawnpore, 684 miles from Calcutta, 
to rely upon their being able to get their wheat down to 
Calcutta for a sum not exceeding about 6s, 4d. per quarter. 
That taken into account with other elements of reduced 
cost has led to a very great and important increase in the 
trade of grain between India and this country . The same 
has been the case with seeds. The duty of the company 
I to assist by reduction of charge in facilitating the 



GROWTH OF T^E KXPORT WHBAT TRAOB. 75 

removal of this large produce of grain and seeds and our rates 
have enabled merchants to bring their wheat to England^ 
together with their linseed and other seeds, at a cost 
which could not have been possible a very short time before." 
** I do not see anything in the conditions in which this 
traffic has been carried on to deter me from expecting a 
continuance of it." 

At about the same time arrangements 
were concluded with the line then known as 
" the Sindh, Punjab and Delhi Railway," by 
which purchasers of grain in the Punjab were 
able to bring their grain to Calcutta, a dis- 
tance of 1,245 miles, at a cost of about I2,s\ 9d. 
per quarter, a rate which was then considered 
remarkably low. As illustrating the growtli of 
the export wheat trade, the following figures 
of exports from Calcutta are interesting, 
more than one-half being brouglit down by 
the East Indian Railway : — 

Years. Tons exported. 
1874 18,926 

1876 68,632 

1876 170,240 

The company was now enjoying a period 
of activity, and prospects were undoubtedly 
encouraging. The Kail way was about 25 
years old and past experience justified the feel- 
ing that it would continue to prove one of the 
g-andest undertakings in the world's history, 
ut the success of the East Indian Railway 
was not entirely owing to the measures taken 
to develop traflBc ; a large share of its 
prosperity was due to the economical condi- 
tions under which the line was worked. Mr. 
Crawford at the same meeting said, " we 




76 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

should never have arrived at a satisfactory 
net result, if our efforts on this side to inculcate 
economy had not been most actively and 
honestly supported on the other side." His 
remarks had special reference to an outcry 
raised by the Indian newspapers of the day, as 
to the alleged injustice of replacing European 
by native labour. Mr. David Campbell, the 
Locomotive Superintendent, had recently 
promoted about 87 native firemen to appoint- 
ments, previously held by Europeans, as 
shunters and drivers of goods trains on branch 
lines, with most satisfactory results. The 
experiment carried out in the face of much 
opposition led to a considerable economy and 
naturally had the full support of the Board. 

Another economy introduced in 1877 was 
in connection with the maintenance of the 
telegraph. The Railway had established a 
line of telegraph wire on one side of the line, 
and the Government had a line of telegraph 
on the other side. This necessitated two 
telegraphic establishments, and it was ob- 
viously a waste of money that one establish- 
ment should be employed in keeping in order 
and repair the line on one side, while another 
establishment should be engaged in looking 
after the wires on the other. An arrange- 
ment was therefore come to with the Govem- 
menty under which they undertook the repair 
and maintenance of the railway wires, and 
.j|l0 Kailway had no longer to keep up a 
^*' of its own for the purpose. 



WAQON 8H0RTAGB DURING MADKAH FAMINR. 77 

A failure of the rains of 1876 led to another 
famine in India, this time in the Madras and 
Bombay Presidencies. A strong demand 
for food grains, pulses and rice set in in 
October 1876, and continued unabated almost 
throughout 1877. The great bulk of the traffic 
flowea over the East Indian Railway from 
the North- West Provinces and the Punjab, 
the largest proportion going vid the Jubbul- 
pore line and the Great Indian Peninsula 
Railway, but there was also a heavy traffic 
to Howrah, for transmission to Madras 
by sea. 

At the same time there was a large wheat 
and seed export trade, and consequently the 
usual sequence of a shortage of wagon 
supply. The papers in India teemed with 
expressions of disapproval of the East 
Indian Railway management, because it had 
not sufficient stock to meet the extraordinary 
demands made upon it. The facts were that 
the stock of wagons had amply sufficed to 
meet the famine requirements of 1873-74, 
but when it came to sending East Indian 
Railway wagons hundreds of miles away 
from the home line to distant Madras, it 
became impossible to meet all demands. 
Out of a total stock of 6,600 goods wagons, as 
many as 1,200 or say one-fifth were constantly 
absent from the line, conveying produce to 
the Bombay or Madras Presidencies. There 
would have been an abundant supply of 
wagons to carry our own traffic but there 



68 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

was a very large growth of grain and espe- 
cially of wheat, a good deal of which found its 
way down the river Indus to the sea at 
Kurrachee. In a favourable season there 
was an immense surplus to dispose of and 
efforts were made to draw this produce to 
Calcutta, by quoting lower rates for its car- 
riage than had previously been thought 
of. These efforts proved in a lar^e measure 
successful ; by introducing considerably re- 
duced grain rates, a valuable traffic was 
drawn to the line and a profitable business 
established. 

The only section of the Railway which 
was not doing so well as anticipated was the 
Jubbulpore branch, its local traffic was poor 
and the traffic interchanged with the Grreat 
Indian Peninsular Railway nominal. The 
Chairman said in his address in July 1874, 
"the Jubbulpore line must be considered 
for the present in the light of a political 
line, and it is very useful to travellers ; but 
as regards the trade and commerce of the 
countiy, the line has not done much." The 
Jubbulpore branch runs for the most part 
through an uncultivated waste, poorly popu- 
lated, and has always been the least paying 
portion of the Railway. 

In 1873 some Bengal coal was taken by 
Madras for the use of the Madras Railway, 
and some was conveyed to Singapore for the 
manufacture of gas, and some to Bombay 
for cotton spinning works. The quantity 



THB CHORD ROUTE AND THK COAL TRAFFIC. 69 

exported was small, but this was the firet 
recorded trade in export coal and at the time 
quite a new feature m the traffic. While on 
the subject of coal, it is well to say a few 
words as to the result of opening the Chord 
line route. It will be remembered that one 
of the reasons for constructing this route 
was that it would have the effect of bringing 
the Bengal coalfields nearer to the centre 
of the Company's system. The policy of the 
Board had often been questioned on the score 
of the initial expense, and on the grounds 
that the Chord route ran through an unprofit- 
able tract of country, which its opponents 
thought waa adequately served by the original 
branch line to the Kaneegunge collieries. 
In 1875 Mr. Crawford in his address to the 
shareholders dwelt on this subject ; he said : — 

'* They might now look upon the policy involved in the 
eonstmction of that line with the utmost Hatisfaction. It 
had placed at their command that ample and abundant 
supply of fuel, which had enabled them to carry on their 
operations, without any fear whatever of being brought 
into difficulty for want of it." 

Not only did the Chord line place at the 
service of the Company and of the public, 
including foreign railways, a vast quantity of 
easily accessible coal, but in opening out new 
lources of supply, it brought about, not only 
t reduction in cost, but a better quality of fuel 
han that obtainable from Raneegunge itself 

During 1875 considerable changes were 
lade in the personnel of the administration 
I Calcutta, Mr. Cecil Stephenson, Chief i 



fe 



70 HISTORY OF THE E. I. RAILWAY. 

Agent, died, and Mr. Sibley, who had been 
Chief Engineer for many years, retired, and 
seeing that all construction works of any 
magnitude were at an end, it was thought 
unnecessary to retain the services of both an 
Agent and a Chief Engineer. Mr. Bradford 
Leslie, now Sir Bradford Leslie, who had 
formerly been Chief Engineer of the Eastern 
Bengal Railway Company and had after- 
wards been employed in building the floating 
road bridge over the Hooghly, was selected 
to fill the dual appointment of Agent and 
Chief Engineer. 

Shortly after Mr. Cecil Stephenson's death 
a tablet to his memory was placed on the 
wall of Howrah Station and a copy of the 
inscription on it is here given : — 

In Memory of 
CECIL MACKINTOSH STEPHENSON, 

Agent of the 

EAST INDIAN RAILWAY COMPANY, 

Who died at Sea on the 21st November 1875, aged 56. 

THIS TABLET IS ERECTED 

As A MARK OF THEIR SINCERE EsTEEM AND ReSFECT 
Bt MORS THAN FIVE THOUSAND OFFICERS AND MeN 

Of the East Indian Railway 

(And others desiring to join), 

Who have also placed a similar Tablet 

In the Calcutta Cathedral, 

And Instituted a Scholarship 

In the Diocesan School at Naini Tal 

FOR SONS OF EAST INDIAN RAILWAY 
SERVANTS. 



AMALT8I8 OF STAT18TI08. 71 

The following statement shows the net 
earnings of the Company from 1870 to 1875 
inclusive : — 







otf. S. d. 


1870 ,.. 


... 


... 1,649,628 17 


1871 ... 


... 


... 1,380,377 1 6 


1872 ... 


... 


... 1,483,386 11 


1873 ... 


... 


... 1,686,338 6 2 


1874 ... 


. . 


... 2,196,877 1 6 


1876 ... 


... 


... 1,624,333 6 3 



The figures combine the earnings of the 
main and Jubbulpore lines, though at this 
time the accounts were separately kept, and 
are interesting as shewing the effect of the 
famine traffic of 1873-74. They also shew, 
excluding the two exceptionalh' poor years, 
1871-72, when trade was more or less stag- 
nant and everything depressed, that following 
the famine there was a distinct development. 

In 1871 we find for the first time an 
analysis of statistical figures much in the 
form in which they are given at the present 
time. The principle of these statistics was 
laid down by Sir Alexander Rendel ( then 
Mr. Rendel) in conjunction with Colonel 
Strachey, b.e., now Sir Richard Strachey, 
Chairman of the Board, and will be referred 
to in greater detail elsewhere. It is suflScient 
to say here that according to the first analysis 
the average load of a goods train on the 
main line was 109 tons and on the Jubbulpore 
branch 68 tons. At the present time an 
average load of under 275 tons is considered 
poor. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Visit op the Prince op Wales to India — 
Reductions in rates — Economies in work- 
ing. — The Madras Famine and shortage op 
STOCK — General Strachey visits India. — 
The Giridih Collieries — Prosperity op 
THE Undertaking. 

In 1875-1876 His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales visited India and great 

Preparations were made to afford him a 
loyal welcome. That the efforts made to 
ensure his comfort while travelling on the 
East Indian Railway were successful, is 
proved by the following extract from the 
Gazette of India, dated 22nd April 1876 : — 

" On the East Indian Bailway, His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales travelled in January 1876 from Howrah 
to Bankipore, and thence to Benares, also from Cawnpore 
to Delhi ; and from Delhi to Ghaziabad, on going to the 
Punjab, and from Ghaziabad to Agra in returning thence. 
In February, His Royal Highness travelled from Asra to 
Aligarh, and in March from Cawnpore to Allahabad and 
on to Jubbulpore. 

The orders issued concerning the details of working the 
Royal train by the authorities of the East Indian Railway 
were such as to ensure punctuality in running, combined 
with all possible precautions for safety. 

On the conclusion of the journey to Jubbulpore, His 
Royal Highness was pleased to acknowledge his thanks 
personally to the Officiating Agent and Traffic Manager for 
their attention to him, and to commend the railway 
arrangements in connection with the several State cere- 
monials of arrival and departure of trains during the different 
journeys made upon the line by His Royal Highness/ 



MR. A. M. RBNDBL VISITS INDIA AGAIN. 73 

The visit of His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales resulted in a concourse of 
N>\tive Princes and others visiting Calcutta, 
and led to a considerable increase in receipts 
from passenger traffic, but as a set-oft* there 
was a certain outgoing to be taken into 
account under the head of carriage building 
and outward demonstrations ; a specrial train 
had to be constructed, as the Prince of Wales 
could not be sent about in an ordinary 
carriage, and stations had to be decorated in 
token of loyalty ; all this cost money, but 
the Chairman in analysing the financial 
result to the Railway said : '* I dare say we 
may put it down that if His Royal Highness 
had not gone to India we should liave been 
about £40,000 worse off than we are." See- 
ing that the special train constructed for the 
Prince of Wales, was used for the next 
twenty-five years as the Viceregal train, this 
result was by no means unsatisfactory. 

About the same time Mr. A. M. Rendel 
again visited India. The completion by the 
W)vemment of the bridge over the Hooghly, 
between Howrah and Calcutta having ren- 
dered necessary considerable alterations at 
the Howrah terminus, Mr. Rendel was de- 
puted to investigate the requirements of the 
case on the spot Mr. Rendel not only 
dealt with the question of Howrah station 
but went over the whole line from one end 
to the other and settled various details with 
the Company's officers in India. 



74 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Reference has been made in a previoua 
chapter to the effect of the Bengal famine 
on the question of goods rates. Mr. Crawford^ 
the Chairman of the Board of Directors, 
referred to this in his address to the share- 
holders in January 1877 ; he said — 

" The experience of the famine traffic had shewn us that 
there was an enormous production of the soil in India of a 
very valuable character, but which had been for the most 
part necessarily retained in the districts in which it 
was grown, for the want of any other market than the 
local markets of the neighbourhood." 

This was in some measure true, but we 
have seen already that a good deal of the 
surplus production of the soil found its way 
to the seaboard by river, and particularly by 
the river Indus to Kurrachee. In 1876 the 
Government took off the export dues, which 
up till then had militated against a really 
large export trade, and at about the same 
time silver began to decline in value. The 
depreciation of silver assisted the export of 
country produce and some encouragement 
in railway rates was alone needed to draw 
the traffic to the Railway. Reductions were 
accordingly made, and as Mr. Crawford in 
another part of his address added : — 

" The effect of the reduction of the rates was to enable 
purchasers of wheat at Cawupore, 684 miles from Calcutta, 
to rely upon their being able to get their wheat down to 
Calcutta for a sum not exceeding about 6s. 4d. per quarter. 
That taken into account with other elements of reduced 
cost has led to a very great and important increase in the 
trade of grain between India and this country . The same 
has been the case with seeds. The duty of the company 
was to assist by reduction of charge in facilitating the 



GROWTH or T^E KXPORT WHBAT TUAOB. 75 

removal of this large produce of grain and seeds and our raten 
have enabled merchants to bring their wheat to England^ 
together with their linseed and other seeds, at a cost 
which could not have been possible a very short time before." 
** I do not see an v thing in the conditions in which this 
traffic has been carried on to deter me from exi)ecting a 
continuance of it." 

At about the same time Hrningemeiits 
were concluded with the Hue then known ixh 
" the Sindh, Punjab and Delhi Riilwav," by 
which purchasers of grain in the Punjab were 
able to bring their grain to Calcutta, a dis- 
tance of 1,245 miles, at a cost of about \2s, [)d. 
per quarter, a rate which was then considei'ed 
remarkably low. As illustrating the growth of 
the export wheat trade, the following figures 
of exports from Calcutta aii* interesting, 
more than one-half being brought down by 
the East Indian Railway : — 

Years. Tons exp')rted 
1874 18.92(i 

1876 68,532 

1876 170,240 

The company was now enjoying a period 
of activity, and prospects w^ere undoubtedly 
encouraging. The Railwaj^ was about 25 
years ola and past experience justified the feel- 
ing that it would continue to prove one of the 
grandest undertakings in the world's history. 
But the success of the East Indian Railway 
was not entirely owing to the measures taken 
to develop traflBc ; a large share of its 
prosperity was due to the economical condi- 
tions under which the line was worked. Mr. 
Crawford at the same meeting said, " we 



76 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

should never have arrived at a satisfactory 
net result, if our efforts on this side to inculcate 
economy had not been most actively and 
honestly supported on the other side." His 
remarks had special reference to an outcry 
raised by the Indian newspapers of the day, as 
to the alleged injustice of replacing European 
by native labour. Mr. David Campbell, the 
Locomotive Superintendent, had recently 
promoted about 87 native firemen to appoint- 
ments, previously held by Europeans, as 
shunters and drivers of goods trains on branch 
lines, with most satisfactory results. The 
experiment carried out in the face of much 
opposition led to a considerable economy and 
naturally had the full support of the Board. 

Another economy introduced in 1877 was 
in connection with the maintenance of the 
telegraph. The Railway had established a 
line of telegraph wire on one side of the line, 
and the Government had a line of telegraph 
on the other side. This necessitated two 
telegraphic establishments, and it was ob- 
viously a waste of money that one establish- 
ment should be employed in keeping in order 
and repair the line on one side, while another 
estabUshment should be engaged in looking 
after the wires on the other. An arrange- 
ment was therefore come to with the Govern- 
ment, under which they undertook the repair 
and maintenance of the railway wires, and 
the Railway had no longer to keep up a 
staff of its own for the purpose. 



WAQON SHORTAGE DURING MADKAH FAMINK. 77 

A failure of the rains of 187() led to another 
famine in India, this time in the Mmlnis and 
Bombay Presidencies. A strong demand 
for food grains, pulses and rice set in in 
October 1876, and continued unabated almost 
throughout 1877. The great bulk of the traffic 
flowed over the East Indian Railway from 
the North- West Provinces and the Punjab, 
the largest proportion going via the Jubbul- 
pore line and the Great Indian Peninsula 
Railway, but there was also a heavy traffic 
to Howrah, for transmission to Madras 
by sea. 

At the same time there was a large wheat 
and seed export trade, and consequently the 
usual sequence of a shortage of wagon 
supply. The papers in India teemed with 
expressions of disapproval of the East 
Indian Railway management, because it had 
not suflScient stock to meet the extraordinary 
demands made upon it. The facts were that 
the stock of wagons had amply sufficed to 
meet the famine requirements of 1873-74, 
but when it came to sending East Indian 
Railway wagons hundreds of miles away 
from the home line to distant Madras, it 
became impossible to meet all demands. 
Out of a total stock of 6,600 goods wagons, as 
many as 1,200 or say one-fifth were constantly 
absent from the line, conveying produce to 
the Bombay or Madras Presidencies. There 
would have been an abundant supply of 
wagons to carry our own traffic but there 



68 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

was a very large growth of grain and espe- 
cially of wheat, a good deal of which found its 
way down the river Indus to the sea at 
Kurrachee. In a favourable season there 
was an immense surplus to dispose of and 
efforts were made to draw this produce to 
Calcutta, by quoting lower rates for its car- 
riage than had previously been thought 
of These efforts proved in a large measure 
successful; by introducing considerably re- 
duced grain rates, a valuable traffic was 
drawn to the line and a profitable business 
established. 

The only section of the Railway which 
was not doing so well as anticipated was the 
Jubbulpore branch, its local traffic was poor 
and the traffic interchanged with the Great 
Indian Peninsular Railway nominal. The 
Chairman said in his address in July 1874, 
"the Jubbulpore line must be considered 
for the present in the light of a political 
line, and it is very useful to travellers ; but 
as regards the trade and commerce of the 
country, the line has not done much." The 
Jubbulpore branch runs for the most part 
through an uncultivated waste, poorly popu- 
lated, and has always been the least paying 
portion of the Railway. 

In 1873 some Bengal coal was taken by 
Madras for the use of the Madras Railway, 
and some was conveyed to Singapore for the 
manufacture of gas, and some to Bombay 
for cotton spinning works. The quantity 



THB CHORD ROUTE AND THK COAL TRAFFIC. 69 

exported was small, but this was the first 
recorded trade in export coal and at the time 
quite a new feature in the traffic. While on 
the subject of coal, it is well to say a few 
words as to the result of opening the Chord 
line route. It will be remembered that one 
of the reasons for constructing this route 
was that it would have the effect of bringing 
the Bengal coalfields nearer to the centre 
of the Company's system. The policy of the 
Board had often been questioned on the score 
of the initial expense, and on the grounds 
that the Chord route ran through an unprofit- 
able tract of country, which its opponents 
thought was adequately served by the original 
branch line to the Raneegunge collieries. 
In 1875 Mr. Crawford in his address to the 
shareholders dwelt on this subject ; he said : — 

" They might now look upon the policy involved in the 
construction of that line with the utmost satisfaction. It 
had placed at their command that ample and abundant 
supply of fuel, which had enabled them to carry on their 
operations, without any fear whatever of being brought 
into difficulty for want of if 

Not only did the Chord line place at the 
service of the Company and of the public, 
including foreign railways, a vast quantity of 
easily accessible coal, but in opening out new 
sources of supply, it brought about, not only 
a reduction in cost, but a better quality of fuel 
than that obtainable from Raneegunge itself 

During 1875 considerable changes were 
made in the personnel of the administration 
in Calcutta, Mr. Cecil Stephenson, Chief 



70 HISTORY OF THE E. I. RAILWAY. 

Agent, died, and Mr. Sibley, who had been 
Chief Engineer for many years, retired, and 
seeing that all construction works of any 
magnitude were at an end, it was thought 
unnecessary to retain the services of both an 
Agent and a Chief Engineer. Mr. Bradford 
Leslie, now Sir Bradford Leslie, who had 
formerly been Chief Engineer of the Eastern 
Bengal Railway Company and had after- 
wards been employed in building the floating 
road bridge over the Hooghly, was selected 
to fill the dual appointment of Agent and 
Chief Engineer. 

Shortly after Mr. Cecil Stephenson's death 
a tablet to his memory was placed on the 
wall of Howrah Station and a copy of the 
inscription on it is here given : — 

In Memory of 
CECIL MACKINTOSH STEPHENSON, 

Agent of the 

EAST INDIAN EAILWAY COMPANY, 

Who died at Sea on the 21st November 1875, aged 56. 

THIS TABLET IS ERECTED 

As A MARK OF THEIR SINCERE EsTEEM AND ReSPECT 
By MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND OFFICERS AND MeN 

Of THE East Indian Railway 

(And others desiring to join), 

Who have also placed a similar Tablet 

In the Calcutta Cathedral, 

And Instituted a Scholarship 

In the Diocesan School at Naini Tal 

FOR SONS OF EAST INDIAN RAILWAY 
SERVANTS. 



ANALYSIS OF STATISTICS. 71 

The following statement shows the net 
earnings of the Company from 1870 to 1875 
inclusive : — 







£, s, d. 


1870 ... 


... 


... 1,649,628 17 


1871 ... 


... 


... 1,380,377 1 6 


1872 ... 


... 


... 1,483,386 11 


1873 ... 


... 


... 1,686,338 6 2 


1874 ... 




... 2,196,877 1 5 


1875 ... 


... 


... 1,624,333 6 3 



The figures combine the earnings of the 
main and Jubbulpore lines, though at this 
time the accounts were separately kept, and 
are interesting as shewing the effect of the 
famine traffic of 1873-74. They also shew, 
excluding the two exceptionally poor years, 
1871-72, when trade was more or less stag- 
nant and everything depressed, that following 
the famine there was a distinct development. 

In 1871 we find for ths first time an 
analysis of statistical figures much in the 
form in which they are given at the present 
time. The principle of these statistics was 
laid down by Sir Alexander Rendel ( then 
Mr. Rendel) in conjunction with Colonel 
Strachey, r.e., now Sir Richard Strachey, 
Chairman of the Board, and will be referred 
to in greater detail elsewhere. It is sufficient 
to say here that according to the first analysis 
the average load of a goods train on the 
main line was 109 tons and on the Jubbulpore 
branch 68 tons. At the present time an 
average load of under 275 tons is considered 
poor. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Visit op thb Prince of Wales to India — 
Reductions in rates — Economies in work- 
ing. — The Madras Famine and shortage of 
STOCK — General Strachey visits India. — 
The Giridih Collieries — Prosperity of 
the Undertaking. 

In 1873-1876 His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales visited India and great 

Preparations were made to afford him a 
loyal welcome. That the efforts made to 
ensure his comfort while travelling on the 
East Indian Railway were successful, is 
proved by the following extract from the 
Gazette of India, dated 22nd April 1876 : — 

'* On the East Indian Railway, His Bojal Highness the 
Prince of Wales travelled in January 1876 from Howrah 
to Bankipore, and thence to Benares, also from Cawnpore 
to Delhi ; and from Delhi to Ghaziabad, on going to the 
Punjab, and from Ghaziabad to Agra in returning thence. 
In February, His Royal Highness travelled from Agra to 
Aligarh, and in March from Cawnpore to Allahabad and 
on to Jubbulpore. 

The orders issued concerning the details of working the 
Boyal train by the authorities of the £ast Indian Railway 
were such as to ensure punctuality in running, combined 
with all possible precautions for safety. 

On the conclusion of the journey to Jubbulpore, His 
Royal Highness was pleased to acknowledge his thanks 
personally to the Officiating Affent and Traffic Manager for 
their attention to him, and to commend the railway 
arrangements in connection with the several State cere- 
monials of arrival and departure of trains during the different 
journeys made upon the line by His Royal Highness." 



MR. A. M. RBNDBL VISITS INDIA AGAIN. 73 

The visit of His Royal Highness the 
Prince of Wales resulted in a concourse of 
Native Princes and others visiting Calcutta, 
and led to a considerable increase in receipts 
from passenger traffic, but as a set-off there 
was a certain outgoing to be taken into 
account under the head of carriage building 
and outward demonstrations ; a special train 
had to be constructed, as the Prince of Wales 
could not be sent about in an ordinary 
carriage, and stations had to be decorated in 
token of loyalty ; all this cost money, but 
the Chairman in analysing the financial 
result to the Railway said : " I dare say we 
may put it down that if His Royal Highness 
had not gone to India we should have been 
about £40,000 worse off than we are." See- 
ing that the special train constructed for the 
Prince of Wales, was used for the next 
twenty-five years as the Viceregal train, this 
result was by no means unsatisfactory. 

About the same time Mr. A. M. Rendel 
again visited India. The completion by the 
Government of the bridge over the Hooghly, 
between Howrah and Calcutta having ren- 
dered necessary considerable alterations at 
the Howrah terminus, Mr. Rendel was de- 
puted to investigate the requirements of the 
case on the spot Mr. Rendel not only 
dealt with the question of Howrah station 
but went over the whole line from one end 
to the other and settled various details with 
the Company's officers in India. 



74 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Reference has been made in a previous 
chapter to the eflPect of the Bengal famine 
on the question of goods rates. Mr. Crawford^ 
the Chairman of the Board of Directors, 
referred to this in his address to the share- 
holders in January 1877 ; he said — 

**The experience of the famine traffic had shewn us that 
thene was an enormous production of the soil in India of a 
very valuable character, but which had been for the most 
part necessarily retained in the districts in which it 
was grown, for the want of any other market than the 
local markets of the neighbourhood.'* 

This was in some measure true, but we 
have seen already that a good deal of the 
surplus production of the soil found its way 
to the seaboard by river, and particularly by 
the river Indus to Kurrachee. In 1876 the 
Government took off the export dues, which 
up till then had militated against a really 
large export trade, and at about the same 
time silver began to decline in value. The 
depreciation of silver assisted the export of 
country produce and some encouragement 
in railway rates was alone needed to draw 
the traffic to the Railway. Reductions were 
accordingly made, and as Mr. Crawford in 
another part of his address added : — 

" The effect of the reduction of the rates was to enable 
purchasers of wheat at Cawnpore, 684 miles from Calcutta, 
to rely upon their being able to get their wheat down to 
Calcutta for a sum not exceeding about 6s. 4d. per quarter. 
That taken into account with other elements of reduced 
cost has led to a very great and important increase in the 
trade of grain between India and this country . The same 
has been the case with seeds. The duty of the company 
was to assist by reduction of charge in facilitating the 



GROWTH OF T^K EXPORT WHBAT TRADE. 75 

removal of this large produce of grain and seeds and our rates 
have enabled merchants to bring their wheat to England^ 
together with their linseed and other seeds, at a cost 
which could not have been possible a very short time before.'^ 
*' I do not see anything in the conditions in which this 
traffic has been carried on to deter me from expecting a 
continuance of it." 

At about the same time arrangements 
were concluded with the line then known as 
" the Sindh, Punjab and Delhi Railway," by 
which purchasers of grain in the Punjab were 
able to bring their grain to Calcutta, a dis- 
tance of 1,245 miles, at a cost of about 125. 9c?. 
per quarter, a rate which was then considered 
remarkably low. As illustrating the growth of 
the export wheat trade, the following figures 
of exports from Calcutta are interesting, 
more than one-half being brought down by 
the East Indian Railway : — 

Years. Tons exported 

1874 18,926 

1875 68,532 

1876 170,240 

The company was now enjoying a period 
of activity, and prospects were undoubtedly 
encouraging. The Railway was about 25 
years old and past experience justified the feel- 
ing that it would continue to prove one of the 
grandest undertakings in the world's history, 
ut the success of the East Indian Railway 
was not entirely owing to the measures taken 
to develop traflfic ; a large share of its 
prosperity was due to the economical condi- 
tions under which the line was worked. Mr. 
Crawford at the same meeting said, " we 



76 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

should never have arrived at a satisfactory 
net result, if our efforts on this side to inculcate 
economy had not been most actively and 
honestly supported on the other side." His 
remarks had special reference to an outcry 
raised by the Indian newspapers of the day, as 
to the alleged injustice of replacing European 
by native labour. Mr. David Campbell, the 
Locomotive Superintendent, had recently 
promoted about 87 native firemen to appoint- 
ments, previously held by Europeans, as 
shimters and drivers of goods trains on branch 
lines, with most satisfactory results. The 
experiment carried out in the face of much 
opposition led to a considerable economy and 
naturally had the full support of the Board. 

Another economy introduced in 1877 was 
in connection with the maintenance of the 
telegraph. The Railway had established a 
line of telegraph wire on one side of the line, 
and the Government had a line of telegraph 
on the other side. This necessitated two 
telegraphic establishments, and it was ob- 
viously a waste of money that one establish- 
ment should be employed in keeping in order 
and repair the line on one side, while another 
establishment should be engaged in looking 
after the wires on the other. An arrange- 
ment was therefore come to with the Govern- 
ment, under which they undertook the repair 
and maintenance of the railway wires, and 
the Railway had no longer to keep up a 
staff of its own for the purpose. 



WAGON SHORTAGE DURING MADRAS FAMINE. 77 

A failure of the rains of 1876 led to another 
famine in India, this time in the Madras and 
Bombay Presidencies. A strong demand 
for food grains, pulses and rice set in in 
October 1876, and continued unabated almost 
throughout 1877. The great bulk of the traflfic 
flowed over the East Indian Railway from 
the North- West Provinces and the Punjab, 
the largest proportion going via the Jubbul- 
pore line and the Great Indian Peninsula 
Kailway, but there was also a heavy traflfic 
to Howrah, for transmission to Madras 
by sea. 

At the same time there was a large wheat 
and seed export trade, and consequently the 
usual sequence of a shortage of wagon 
supply. The papers in India teemed with 
expressions of disapproval of the East 
Indian Railway management, because it had 
not suflficient stock to meet the extraordinary 
demands made upon it. The facts were that 
the stock of wagons had amply suflficed to 
meet the famine requirements of 1873-74, 
but when it came to sending East Indian 
Railway wagons hundreds of miles away 
from the home line to distant Madras, it 
became impossible to meet all demands. 
Out of a total stock of 6,600 goods wagons, as 
many as 1,200 or say one-fifth were constantly 
absent from the line, conveying produce to 
the Bombay or Madras Presidencies. There 
would have been an abundant supply of 
wagons to carry our own traflfic but there 



78 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

were not suflficient to carry grain to Madras 
as well as to Calcutta, and obviously it was 
beyond the bounds of possibility to meet this 
exceptional demand. The Board however at 
once applied for Government sanction to the 
provision of 1,000 more wagons and 50 addi- 
tional engines, at a cost of a quarter of a 
million of money, and sanction was accorded 
after some short delay. 

Towards the close of 1877 and at the 
beginning of 1878 shareholders were begin- 
ning to enquire what action the Govern- 
ment intended to take in respect to the 
purchase of the Railway. Mr. Crawford, 
although he could then make no oflficial 
announcement, had already taken up the 
question and was in communication with 
the Government as to its intentions. The 
position was that on the 15th February 1879, 
and for six months afterwards, the Govern- 
ment had the power of giving notice to the 
Company of its intention to purchase the 
property, such intention to take effect on 
the expiration of six months' notice. The 
terms of purchase were the average market 
value of the stock of the Company for three 
years preceding the date on which such 
notice should be given. There was much 
conjecture as to the course the Government 
would follow, and when it was announced, 
early in 1878, that Lieut. -Genl. Strachey, 
R. E., a member of the Council of the Secre- 
tary of State for India, had proceeded to 



VISIT OF GRNL. STBAOHBT AND MR. RENDBL. 79 

Calcutta to consider, " with the Government 
and Railway authorities on the spot, certain 
propositions for the completion of the 
Company's system," it was not unnatural to 
associate his visit with the question of 
Government purchase of the Railway. 

The Board thought it desirable that Mr. 
A. M. Rendel, the Consulting Engineer to the 
Company, should also proceed to India and 
take part in the enquiries to be made by 
General Strachey, as, setting aside the 
question of purchase, there were many 
important matters requiring decision. The 
rapidity with which traffic had developed in 
recent years rendered it essential to decide, 
without delay, what further facilities should 
be provided. In other words it had become 
very necessary that accurate information 
should be obtained as to the works needed to 
enable the Railway to meet the development 
of traffic. Among these works were the carry- 
ing of the line over the river Hooghly by a 
bridge at a convenient point above Calcutta, 
the idea then being to construct a passenger 
station in the Metropolis and so leave the 
whole of the Howrah property for the wheat, 
seeds and coal trade. Then again, there were 
the questions of extending the double line and 
of bridging the Ganges at or near Benares, 
so as to make a better connection with the 
Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway. These were 
big questions and there were many others 
of minor importance. 



80 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

It is not necessary here to refer in any 
detail to this visit of Genl. Strachey and 
Mr. Rendel to India. Genl. Strachey 's visit 
was undoubtedly in connection with the 
question of Government taking over the East 
Indian Railway, and this wiU be more fully 
dealt with in another chapter. Mr. Rendel 
as usual submitted a very full report as soon 
as he returned, dealing with the engineering 
questions above referred to, but no proposals 
were made by the Board to the Government 
to enter upon the works recommended by 
him, because the intentions of Government 
in regard to the purchase of the line were 
not known until some time afterwards. 
Suflfice to say here that in 1879 a Bill was 
presented in Parliament " to enable the Sec- 
retary of State in Council to enter into 
contracts for the purchase of the undertaking 
of the East Indian Railway Company and for 
other purposes in relation to such Company." 
This Bill received the Royal assent on the 
11th August 1879, and under its provisions a 
contract, to continue in force for a period of 
not less than 20 years from the 1st January 
1880, was entered into, embodying the con- 
ditions on which the undertaking was continu- 
ed in the hands of the Company. 

Before giving any details of the growth 
of traffic during the period immediately 
preceding the purchase of the Railway by 
the State, there are one or two incidents to 
record. In 1878 the Company lost, through 



DEATH OF MBSSRS. ROBERTS AND BATOHBLOK. 81 

death, the services of two of its most valued 
officers. Mr. Robert Roberts, the Chief 
Auditor, died at Alexandria on his way to 
England, after a service of eighteen years, 
and was succeeded by Mr. R. C. S. Mackenzie, 
the first assistant of the Department. Mr. 
J. C. Batchelor, who for nearly twenty years 
had discharged with ability and zeal the 
duties of Traffic Manager, died suddenly in 
Calcutta, and Mr. N. St. L. Carter, Deputy 
Traffic Manager, was appointed to fill the 
vacant post. It may here be mentioned 
that Mr. Batchelor was formerly an officer 
on the staflFof the London and North Western 
Railway and was considered one of the most 
able Traffic Managers the East Indian 
Railway ever had. 

The net earnings of the East Indian Rail- 
way Company from 1876 to 1879 inclusive 
were : — 



1876 


... 


... £2,110,286 10 4 


1877 


••• 


... 2,770,667 11 10 


1878 


t.. 


... 2,344,942 9 


1879 


••• 


... 2,666,751 16 7 



Prior to the year 1876 wheat exports 
firom India had been comparatively small, 
but in that vear the^e was so great an 
advance in tne trade that British India, 
instead of being at the bottom, took the 
third place in the list of countries from which 
the United Kingdom drew its supply, and 
there was every indication of a stuT further 
increase in despatches as facilities were 

BIB & 



82 HISTORY OF THB B* I. RAILWAY. 

enlarged and made available to commerce. 
The seed traffic was also crowing in import- 
ance, but more important than either of these 
two was the, as yet, almost mideveloped coal 
traffic. It is true that it had already reached 
some magnitude, and was gradually growing, 
but this was chiefly due to the requirements 
of railways, which had to take coal, and not 
to the creation of an export trade, which 
followed years afterwards when a more suit- 
able tariff was introduced. In 1876 there 
was very little demand for local coal for sea- 
going steamers, and the chief consideration 
of the time seems to have been moderately 
cheap fuel for railway consumption. 

The quantity of coal carried for the public 
during the three years ending 1876 was 



1874 


Tons 506,519 


1875 


„ 515,846 


1876 


„ 520,262 



Now in connection with the coal traffic of 
these days it must be remembered that the 
.East Indian Railway collieries supplied a 
large portion of the public demand. The 
Giridih coalfield was discovered in the early 
years of the history of the East Indian Rail- 
way, and, thanks to the intelligence and fore- 
sight of Mr. (afterwards Sir) Macdonald 
Stephenson, the East Indian Railway Com- 
pany acquired control over it. At one time 
there was a sharp controversy between the 
Government and the Company as to the use 
of this coal-field. The Gtovemment said 



BAST INDIAN RAILWAY COAL PROPBRTY. 83 

they could not allow guaranteed capital to 
be used in working a coal mine, and in fact 
gave orders that the mines were to be closed. 
What followed is best described in Mr. 
Crawford's words: — "We on our part were not 
prepared to submit to this, and as the Gov- 
ernment would not alter their determination 
we brought out what was called ^The Auxiliary 
Railway Company, ' by which we proposed to 
make the Chord line, and to develop the 
Giridih property. A letter was written to 
Sir Charles Wood, in which we pointed out 
to him, from what I may call the commercial 
aspect of the case, how absolutely necessary 
it was that we should take the course we 
proposed to take. We told him the great 
advantages that in our judgment would arise 
from it. Sir Charles Wood gave way, autho- 
rity was given to make the Chord line, to get 
access to these mines, and you see the result. 
We get our coal at Is. 5d. a ton." 

It was not, however, the East Indian 
Railway that alone benefited by the cheap 
coal made available by the construction of 
the Chord line. The East Indian Railway 
did not require for themselves all the coal 
that was raised from their mines, and was 
able to place at the disposal of Government 
and of other railways connecting with them, 
the whole of their surplus raisings, for which 
cost price was charged in addition to rail- 
way freight. There were, however, other 
coal-owners in India besides the Railway 



84 HISTORY OF THB B. I. BAILWAT. 

Company, and these people took exception 
to the course pursued by the Company and, 
in the words of Mr. Crawford, threatened 
"all manner of things." "They talk," he 
said, "of getting an interdict from the 
Government. In fact they threaten legal 
proceedings ; but they are not aware of this, 
that we are entitled under our constitution 
to work and to win and to make profit out 
of coal and minerals. It was one of those 
things for which we are indebted to the 
foresight of our colleague, Sir Macdonald 
Stephenson, who after thirty years' connec- 
tion with us, is still happily with us. He 
foresaw the advantages that would arise from 
this ; therefore in the deed of contract we 
have the power to do these things, and that 
deed has been approved by Government ; 
there is therefore no doubt as to our legal 
authority to deal if we choose in coal. How 
we came to possess the coal was in this way. 
We were engaged some twenty-five years 
ago in constructing our line along the Gan- 
ges, where a large quantity of brickwork was 
to be done. Our people were at their wits' 
end for fuel wherewith to bum the bricks. 
As the Americans say, they prospected the 
country, and it resulted in finding coal. 
When found. Sir Macdonald Stephenson 
took measures immediately to acquire con- 
trol over the coal. That was obtained and 
we have now legal control over the coal pits. 
Thwe are other coal deposits, and other 



PROFITS OF GOVBBNMBM' FROM THE B. I. R. 85 

people can work them if they like, as well 
as ourselves. Our purpose in relation to 
coal is this — ^to use as much as we require for 
our own purposes at the smallest cost, having 
done this we wish to supply our neighbours 
with as much coal as we can, they paying 
us merely the profits of carriage. There 
is the Oudh and Rohilkhand, which is com- 
paratively speaking our nearest neighbour 
m one du'ection, and I hope we shall be able 
to keep them continually supplied with the 
coal they require on terms satisfactory to 
them, and the same with the Great Indian 
Peninsular." 

How the controversy regarding the sale 
by the Kailway of its surplus coal ended it 
is needless to recapitulate, at the time the 
words were spoken the Company was on the 
eve of negotiations with Government as to 
its fixture. It was feared that the Govern- 
ment might not only purchase the under- 
taking but work it also. Mr. Crawford held 
the view, apparently accepted by Govern- 
ment, that " no railway of this magnitude is 
likely to succeed if it is administered by 
departmental officers of Government." The 
Railway was abeady paying the Govern- 
ment handsome profits, in the year 1877 
the Government share amounted to about 
X600,000, and on this Mr. Crawford said, 
" Gentlemen, if you will turn to the pages of 
a certain book called the Fables of -^sop, you 
will see the story of a countryman who was 



S6 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

fortunate in possessing a goose whicli laid 
every day a golden egg ? You know what the 
countryman did with the goose. We, the 
East Indian Railway Co., are the goose ; the 

§ olden egg is the £600,000 which the 
ecretary of State will get out of this 
Railway for the year 1877 ; but whether 
Lord Salisbury will be the country- 
man or not remains for the future to 
discover." 

Let us look for a moment at the goose as 
described by Mr. Crawford in a previous 
speech. It shews how the Railway was 
then regarded and what expectations were 
held for its future. He said " with regard 
to the undertaking itself, you will bear in 
mind that there is perhaps no railway enter- 
prise upon the face of this earth, traversing 
so great a distance, that is more favourably 
placed than ours is. We have little or noth- 
ing to contend with in the way of unfavour- 
able gradients ; we have a plain and level 
country to pass through. We have a river, 
it is true to compete with, but which I think 
will be found in the long run will be less of 
a competitor than a coadjutor with us. We 
serve a country densely peopled — a people 
living in a state of tranquility, who are able 
to devote themselves to the exercise of all 
the arts of life, whatever they may be, which 
they pursue, whether agriculture or manufac- 
tures or whatever else ; and we have arrived 
at that time now when the cultivators of 



HB. CRAWFORD DBSORIBBS THE B. I. R. 87 

the soil in India, and the traders into whose 
hands the produce of the cultivators passes, 
have found that the supply of every article, 
wherever produced along the East Indian 
line, exceeding the local consumption, is 
carried to marKet by rail. A man can enter 
upon the cultivation of land with confidence 
that his produce, if in excess of that required 
for the supply of the immediate neighbour- 
hood, will find a market elsewhere. All this 
arises in a great measure from the fact that 
the produce there raised is of a kind readily 
taken by other people than the people of 
India. There are acres upon acres, districts 
of land in India, which are now covered 
with wheat cultivation. There are large 
areas in the lower, independently of the 
Upper Provinces of India, where the culti- 
vation of oil seeds, linseed and rape seeds, 
and other things of that kind is carried 
on to a vast extent. There is nothing 
whatever in the ordinary circumstances of 
India which can prevent our enjoying to 
the full extent the full benefit as railway 
carriers." 

During the period we are now dealing 
with the growth of the passenger traffic and 
the measures advisable to encourage it were 
also being considered. The increase in the 
passenger traffic was thought not so great 
as it might have been and the question of 
reducing the third class fare was a subject 
to which consideration was being given. Mr. 



88 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Crawford in his address to the shareholders 
in 1878 said :— 

'' I do not know whether our rates are higher than they 
ought to be, but to carry a passenger eight miles for 3a. 
cannot inflict a very great burden upon him. The Southern 
of India Bailwa}7, I am told, however, carry passengers at 
two-thirds of our rates and their traffic is increasing. If 
that be the case it certainly behoves us to see how far the 
principle of lower fares can be applied with success upon 
our system. It is not to be forgotten that it is a dangerous 
question to meddle with, and we had better be cautious in 
what we do." 

What was done a few years later is related 
elsewhere, in the meantime we need only 
mention that the Railw^ay was carrying over 
six million passengers annually in 1875 and 
that, in 1879, the figures had gone up to more 
than seven and one half minions, of whom 
nearly seven millions were of the third class. 

The working expenses were still decreasing, 
in the second half of 1879 the percentage 
to gross receipts for the main line was down 
to 31-86 and in whatever way regarded the 
general outlook was most favourable. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Opening op the Rajputana Railway leads 
TO competition between Calcutta and 
Bombay — The views op Government on 

THE QUESTION — ThB POSITION DEFINED BY 

Mr. Crawford, Chairman of the East 
Indian Railway. 

The Rajputana-Malwa (metre gauge) 
Gk)vemment Railway, connecting the 
North West Provinces with Bombay, 
vid the Bombay, Baroda and Central India 
Railway, was opened for traflfic on the Ist 
January 1881, and very shortly afterwards, 
the question of the competition between 
the Ports of Calcutta and Bombay came 
under the consideration of the Government 
of India, with a view to the laying down of 
principles upon which the traflfic by the rival 
routes should be conducted, having due regard 
to the several interests concerned. 

Taking the two important centres Agra 
and Delhi, distances to Bombay and Cal- 
cutta then compared : — 

Miles. 



Agra to Bombay vid Eajputana ... 

„ „ ,, vid Jabbnlpore 
Agra to Calcutta 
Delhi to Bombay vid Raiputana... 

„ „ „ ^'d Jubbulpore 
Delhi to CalcntU 



847 
1,121 

841 

889 
1,284 

954 



90 HISTORY OF THR K. I. RAILWAY. 

The Board of the East Indian Railway 
held that the Calcutta trade should be given 
the full advantage of the economical condi- 
tions under which their line was worked ; 
they argued in fact that the East Indian 
Railway should have the power of carrying 
goods at cheaper rates than other railways. 

The managements of the Bombay Baroda 
and Rajputana State Railways declined to 
accept this view, and undeterred by the 
disadvantage of break of gauge, at once 
began active competition by reducing charges, 
in order to draw to Bombay by their route, a 
large portion of the traffic which had pre- 
viously been carried by the East Indian 
Railway, from Agra and Delhi, to Calcutta. 

The Great Indian Peninsular Railway, 
which had previously only secured a small 
portion of the traffic of the North-West and 
l^unjab to Bombay by the Jubbulpore route, 
found themselves seriously handicapped and 
proposed to construct an extension of their 
line to Cawnpore, which would shorten the 
distance by their route, both from Cawnpore 
and above. This proposal was accepted by 
the Secretary of State and thus a further 
complication was introduced, though it is true 
that it was not until some years later that 
the connection was actually made by the 
Indian Midland Railway, since amalgamated 
with the Great Indian Peninsular. 

The Government of India wrote a des- 
patch on the question in which the general 



GOVBRNMBNT OF INDIA VIEWS. 91 

principle was laid down that railway rates 
should be fixed " at the lowest limit possible 
to secure a fair profit on working. This 
principle was very much in accord with the 
views of the East Indian Railway Board, 
who now looked upon the competition with 
less alarm, for they knew they could make a 
fair profit out of far lower rates than other 
rsttlways and therefore had the whip hand. 

Let us, however, extract more fully from 
the Government despatch, which is dated 
19th May 1882. 

**The Qovernment of India has certainly no wish to 
favour either the port of Calcutta or that of Bombay in 
this matter. Both ports have their respective advantagea 
and disadvautages as regards the export of country produce. 
Bombay has a magnificent harbour and a convenient dock^ 
combined with lower freight charges to Europe ; but as 
regards inland transport it has the disadvantage of costly 
fuel and hilly country. Calcutta on the other hand has 
a somewhat dangerous river for its approach, no docks and 
heavier freight charges to Europe ; but in respect of inland 
transport it has great advantages, not only from the abun- 
dant supply of cheap coal but also from its river transport. 
The competition of the river compels low charges on the 
railways, while the cheap coal enables thetie low charges to 
be remunerative ; and it appears to His Excellency the 
Governor-General in Council that if the Government ruled 
that the rates from Delhi and Agra to Bombay and Calcutta 
were to be the same, such ruling would be distinctly favour- 
ing Bombay at the expense of Calcutta, and placing an 
artificial restriction on the East Indian Railway traffic, 
thereby depriving the districts served by it of the natu- 
ral advantages of their position." 

At this time the rates from Agra and Delhi 
to Calcutta and Bombay were considerably in 
favour of Calcutta, and the Government of 
India in this despatch merely reiterated the 



92 H1ST0B7 OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

theory they had promulgated in a previous 
letter to the Government of Bombay, to the 
effect that ** the ultimate limit of legitimate 
competition between the various lines must 
be regulated by their capabilities of making 
an equally fair profit from the traffic they 
carry. " 

A long controversy ensued in which the 
Chambers of Commerce in Calcutta and 
Bombay joined, while the Secretary of State 
expressed an opinion quite opposed to that 
held by the Government of India. He was 
in favour of leaving the rival railway lines to 
compete for the trade by quoting whatever 
rates they found desirable, subject to the 
interposition of Government in extreme cases, 
and laid down that "the advantages due 
either to geographical position or other 
circumstances, shoW funSsh no reason for 
imposing on either artificial restrictions, in 
order to produce an equal return of net profits 
on the capital of both." 

These very opposite views in no way 
brought the controversy to a close. It 
continued for years before even a temporary 
solution was come to, but ultimately the 
Government of India, in 1887, accepted in a 
large measure the principles laid down by the 
Secretary of State that "the managers of 
railways should be left to fix their own rates 
and fares, that the interests of railways and 
trade generally would be better served by 
accepting the legitimate consequences of 



MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM RATES. 93 

competition, and that the interposition of 
Grovemment would be justified only in cases 
where companies, under the security of a 
guarantee, might fix rates below what would 
cover the cost of transport with a margin of 
profit." 

Certain general rules were then formulated 
by Government, subject to which railways 
were left free to fix such rates and fares as 
seemed most advantageous for their res- 
pective lines. 

Among these rules were what is known as 
maximum and minimum rates, but otherwise 
the utmost latitude was allowed the several 
railway managements. In other words it 
was left to the railways to compete with 
each other, until they reached the minimum 
charge permissible, whether this minimum 
meant a profitable charge or otherwise. The 
natural result has been that in the course 
of years of competition, coupled with other 
considerations, the lines leading to Calcutta 
and Bombay have both reached the minimum 
in many instances, and the East Indian Rail- 
way, not being able to go further, loses the 
advantage that a purely commercial concern 
would gain by reason of the cheaper con- 
ditions under which it is worked. 

As will be shewn further on the question 
has recently been revived, and is under 
discussion at the present moment; but 
while this correspondence was going on and 
at a time when the Rajputana route had 



94 HISTORY OF THB B I. RAILWAY. 

atarted active competition with the East 
Indian Railway for the trade of the North 
West, and when the Great Indian Peninsular 
Railway was still endeavouring to gain access 
to Cawnpore, Mr. Crawford issued an interest- 
ing brochure entitled " Some Observations 
on the Development of the Railway System 
of the Valley of the Ganges." 

In this sketch Mr. Crawford considered 
the general effect of the accomplishment of 
certain projects likely to affect the working 
of the East Indian Railway. 

He referred firstly to the approaching 
completion of the Hooghly bridge, connect- 
ing the railways on either side of Calcutta ; 
then to the bridge crossing the Ganges river 
at Benares and the probable acquirement 
by the Government of the Oudh and Rohil- 
kand Railway ; then to the development of 
the Bengal and North- Western Railway 
System, serving, with the Tirhoot State 
line, the important provinces north of the 
Ganges, and lastly to the competition between 
Bombay, Kurrachee and Calcutta. 

It is only with the last portion of the 
pamphlet that we are here interested, and 
more particularly with the competition 
between Bombay and Calcutta. 

" This competition," he remarked, " was 
unknown, in point of fact it was not possible, 
before the meeting of the East Indian and 
Great Indian Peninsular lines of Railway at 
Jubbulpore in the year 1869, audit has been 



MR. Crawford's views. 95 

effective only since the completion of the 
Rajputana-Malwa (narrow gauge lines) and 
their incorporation with the Bombay-Baroda 
line in 1881, thus affording Bombay a 
continuous unbroken communication with 
points of contact with the East Indian line 
at Agra and at Delhi The basis upon which 
this competition is, as regards Bombay, the 
great superiority the port possesses over the 
port of Calcutta, owing mainly to natural 
causes — the extent and depth of the water of 
its harbour, its facility of access and immunity 
from cyclones and, more than all, its position, 
confronting, on the Western coast of India, 
the entrance to the Red Sea, and the com- 
munications with every part of Europe. 
Add to these the moderate port charges and 
there appears to be some reason why there 
should be a reputed difference of IO5. per 
ton in favour of Bombay, between the 
freights from Bombay and those from 
Calcutta, and just as much, say IO5. per ton 
in the relative costs of the transport of goods 
between the marts in upper Inaia and their 
destination in Europe." 

" If by the gifts of nature Bombay is so 
largely superior to Calcutta as a shipping 
port, there is a set off of no slight importance 
m the fact that the approach to, and departure 
from Bombay, are subject to the drawback of 
the Western GhS,ts in both the lines of the 
Great Indian Peninsular Railway leading into 
the interior of the country, and the flooding of 



96 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

the rivers, notably the Taptee and Nurbudda, 
which cross the path of the Bombay and 
Baroda Kailway, in its northward course to its 
junction with the Rajputana-Malwa line at 
Sabarmati. Added to this, coal is not to be 
found economically suitable for the purposes 
of locomotion at any point on either of these 
lines. The consequence is that both of these 
depend upon the imported coal into Bombay 
for the supply of their requirements, at a 
cost as follows compared with the East 
Indian Railway Company : thus the 

Half year ended 
30th Jane 1885. 
East Indian Railway used ... Tons 100,176 
Great Indian Peninsular „ ... „ 108,490 
Bombay and Baroda „ „ 24,987 

Costing 

East Indian Railway ... Bs. 479,4S2 

per ton at 1/8 per rupee ... 7«. ll^d. 

Great Indian Peninsular ... Bs. 1,678,778 

per ton at 1/8 per rupee ... £l ts, 9^d. 

Bombay and Baroda Bs 493,112 

per ton at 1/8 per rupee ... £1 12«. lO^d, 

This statement showed that, in the one item 
of coal, the East Indian possessed an enor- 
mous and indisputable advantage over the 
Bombay lines, but if it was a fact that 
Bombay possessed a superiority in homeward 
freights it still remained necessary for the 
East Indian, by the observance of every 
practical economy in management, and by 
affording every possible facility to the public, 
to take all the advantage it could of its 



MR. Crawford's views. 97 

cheap working, and so retain the traffic to 
which it considered itself entitled. 

The bridging of the Hooghly, the enlarge- 
ment of Howrah station and the additions 
to locomotive and wagon stock then contem- 
plated were among the measures which, in 
Mr. Crawford's words, enabled the East 
Indian Railway " to enter into a free and 
open competition with the Great Indian 
Peninsular and Bombay and Baroda Rail- 
ways, confident of being able to hold their 
own, if they are only allowed fair play." 

Taking the Great Indian Peninsular Rail- 
way first, their avowed object in getting 
into Cawnpore was to divert from the East 
Indian Railway as much as they could of 
the Cawnpore-Calcutta traffic. 

"Cawnpore," wrote Mr. Crawford, "is distant from 
Calcutta 684 miles, and it will be, it is understood, 831 miles 
distant from Bombay, consequently the distance from 
Bombay to Calcutta by the two routes conjointly being 
1515 miles, the half-way house or mid-point of the entire 
route will be at 757 miles from either port or about 
31 miles distant westward of Calpee. In otner words, all 
things being equal, a ton of goods could be sent from that 
half-way house to either port for the same charge for 
freight. 

'' But all things are not equal in this case of competition. 
If, on the one hand, the Western Port of India is un- 
supplied by nature with coal of any kind for the locomotive 
uses of the railways, and the courses of those Railways are 
impeded and obstructed by mountain ranges and the 
opposing waters of ^reat rivers, we find, on the other hand, 
Calcutta in immediate connection with coal-fields of great 
extent on the very line of her chief Bailway, and that 
railway pursuing its way of nearly 1000 miles to Delhi 
over a course practically level throughout. 

'* llie results of these differences m the natural conditions 
under which the East Indian and the lines of Western 

BIR 7 



98 HI8T0BY OF THK B. I. RAILWAY. 

India are worked have been formulated in the Summary 
of the Analysis of Working of Indian Railways, and 
show — 
Average cost of hauling a goods unit (one ton) one mile 



East Indian Railway 


... pies 2-40 


Great Indian Peninsular ..• 


... „ 5-27 


Bombay and Baroda 


... „ 4 77 


Rajputana Railway 


... „ 5-20" 



This great difference in favour of the 
East Indian Railway was, in Mr. Crawford's 
opinion, " sufficient to transfer the central 
economical working meeting point on the 
Indian Midland line, 356 miles to the west- 
ward of Cawnpore." 

In the competition with the united Bom- 
bay, Baroda and Rajputana Railways the 
case was somewhat different ; the distance 
from Calcutta to Agra being 841 miles and 
from Bombay to Agra 847 miles, the mid- 
way house is 3^ miles to the west of Agra, 
or say at Agra itself, but according to 
Mr. Crawford's calculations the economical 
working midway point would be 307 miles 
westward of Agra. 

These arguments, which are perfectly 
sound, apply with equal force to the present 
time. Beyond laying down maximum and 
minimum rates, the Government has, as 
already indicated, in no way interfered with 
competition between the different railways in 
India, the minimum rates are the same for 
all and, as a consequence, the Bombay lines 
charge from Agra to Bombay the same as the 
East Indian charges from Agra to Calcutta ; 



MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM KATKS. 99 

while from Cawnpore the Great Indian 
Peninsular and the East Indian have been 
known, during active competition, to both 
charge the minimum allowed them for the 
more important items of traffic, or in other 
words to maintain equal mileage rates irres- 
pective of the cost of working. Therefore up 
to the present time the East Indian Railway 
has not been allowed to get any advantage 
from the more economical conditions under 
which it is worked. Such an arrangement is 
not only contrary to the spirit of commercial 
enterprise, but is distinctly unfair to the East 
Indian Railway. It is very doubtful whether 
the minimum rates can pay in the case of rail- 
ways which are not so cheaply worked, and it 
would be interesting to hear what arguments 
there are to the contrary. It may also be 
remarked here that to protect the public by 
prescribing maximum rates, above which no 
railway may charge, is understandable, but 
that rates should be governed by minima, 
below which no railway may go, is an econo- 
mic absurdity. Minimum rates were no 
doubt brought about by the system of Gov- 
ernment guarantees, and the fear that, with- 
out some such restriction, certain railways 
would charge lower rates than were profit- 
able to them, but this is no defence when 
it limits the powers of a railway, in a 
position to charge less than the prescribed 
minimum, and yet derive a fair margin of 
profit. 



100 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

This question of competition will be refer- 
red to in other phases elsewhere ; it is 
sufficient to say here that Mr. W. A. Dring, 
the present General Traffic Manager of the 
East Indian Railway, has in a recent note 
on slow freight rates re-opened the question 
of a varying minima and it is on this that we 
are now awaiting the decision of Government. 
Mr. Dring says : — 

"The present minimum charge of '2Zd per ton mile 
is acting as a restraint on the operations of the manage- 
ments to which Oovernment has entrusted the working 
of its railways, and it seems probable that in the earlj 
future Qovernment may consider whether the minimum 
can be reduced. There will then be the problem whether, 
as hitherto, there shall be one minimum for all alike, or 
whether the theap working lines shall be allowed to charge 
a lower rate than the system where the prevailing conditions 
do not permit of the same economy. In other words, 
whether the cost of working shall be taken into consider- 
ation in fixing the minimum rate which may be quoted by 
the different systems. It is too much to expect that there 
shall be a different minimum for each railway, small and 
large, but it is submitted that different minimum rates 
based on cost of working could be laid down for the larger 
systems, and a general minimum for the smaller, and that 
such a procedure would be both fair to the consignor whose 
goods are to be carried, and in the interests of Government 
as owning the railways." 



CHAPTEK IX. 

Negotiations Preceding the Purchase of 
THE East Indian Railway by Government. 

The negotiations which preceded, and gra- 
dually led up to the purchase of the East 
Indian Railway Company by Government, 
have been placed on record by Mr. Crawford, 
in a pamphlet published in 1880, entitled 
** A Short Account of the Preliminary Nego- 
tiations." 

Towards the close of 1876, the first of the 
three years constituting the period of which 
the average price of the Company's stock in 
the market was to be taken as the value of the 
Railway, in the event of the Secretary of 
State electing to purchase the line, had 
nearly run its course, and the time had 
arrived, when the interests of the Company 
required that the consideration of its fate in 
the future should no longer be deferred. 

The measures taken by Mr. Crawford are 
best told in his own words ; he says : — 

" As a first step I proceeded to prepare a paper, which 
dealing with some of the leading facts as they lay before us, 
would familiarise my own min^ and the minds of my col- 
leagues on the Board, and of any other persons under whose 
observation they might come, with the main features of the 
case and the magnitude of the interests concerned ; at the 
same time they presented something like a definite proposi- 
tion for consiaeration. 



102 HISTORY OF THE E. I. RAILWAY. 

" My next step was to write to Lord Salisbury under date 
8th March 1877, to the effect that *as the time approached 
when the relations of the East Indian Bail way Company 
with the Government of India would come under review in 
the terms of the contract, we found our freedom of proceed- 
ing in the management of the line, and consideration of 
measures for the development of the trafSc, much affected 
by the uncertainties of our position ; requesting in conclusion 
that His Lordship would allow me to see him on the subject. 
I waited on him on the 15th March 1877. He heard what 
I had to say, and having spoken amongst other things of 
difficulties in the interpretation of the contract, referred 
me in the end to General Strachey, the Chairman of the 
Bailway Committee of his Council." 

" Various communications having passed between General 
Strachey and myself, I received from him in the result, a 
declaration of Lord Salisbury's views in the following 
confidential letter dated 3rd May 1877 : — 

" I return the {>aper you left with me. Acting on your 
authority to do so, if I thought fit, I have shewed it to lx)rd 
Salisbury. To take up tlie discussion where we left it, I 
now wish to repeat what I before said, that the only basis on 
which I have any authority to treat is, that the Railway 
shall become the property of the State. At the same time it 
is suggested, that arrangements might be come to between the 
Government and the Company, under which the Company, 
either as now constituted or in some modified shape, might 
continue to work the Railway on a lease for a term of 
years. 

" If no such arrangement commends itself to the Company 
it will only remain for the Government to act under the 
terms of the existing contract, when the date for exercising 
the power of purchase arrives. The exact form that 
should be given to a working arrangement must be subject 
of negotiation. The essential condition, which I cannot 
give up, is, that the prospective share in the profits of the 
Railway, which a working company shall receive, must be 
limited to an amount which will fairly represent the 
remuneration to which they would be entitled for managing 
the business. I am at present disposed to estimate this 
as follows : — 

"The capital represented by the whole concern being taken 
at 30 millions, the Government might be expected to share 
on 25 millions, and would leave 5 millions as the sum on 
which the Company would share in the division of the profits. 
**The five millions in question might be contributed^ 
either as a new subscription of debenture capital, or might 



QBNL. STRAOHBY ON THE QUB8TI0N OF PURCHASE. 103 

be transferred from the amount which the Government 
will have to pay the Company, as purchase-money, on the 
termination of the existing contract. 

" If such a basis were accepted for discussion, it would, 
I think, not be difficult to come to an understanding, as to 
the principles on which the existing shareholders should 
be paid, on the transfer of the Railway to the Government, 
so as to give them the full value contemplated by the 
contract. It would probably simplify matters if this were 
disposed of quite apart from the arrangement for the 
future, at least provisionally. 

" The question that would then arise would be whether 
the capital amount, which I have proposed to fix at five 
millions, should be subscribed as an addition to the existing 
capital, subject to the condition of being paid up as re- 
quired from time to time, or whether it should be regarded 
as having been supplied by a corresponding amount of the 
sum payable to the shareholders, on the purchase of the 
Bailway by the Government, leaving the future provision of 
capital to oe met independently. 

" The net profits to be divided between the Government 
and the Company would be the net income of the Bailway, 
after deducting the annual sum paid by the Government, 
in fulfilment of the terms of the old contract and interest 
on the sum advanced by the Government, as guaranteed, 
entered with the simple interest accrued thereon, together 
with all interest on Debentures, not included in the pay- 
ment under the old contract. 

'* I think that this includes all the more essential points 
on which to form an opinion, whether we are likely to come 
to an understanding as to a working arrangement for the 
future or the contrary. 

**In any case, as Governments are proverbially slow in 
their action, it has already become time for us to bring our 
machinery into operation in connection with this question, 
and if you hear that this has been done, you will not be 
surprised, though at the same time you are not to assume 
that there is an intention of closing the door to an arrange- 
ment with you, on a basis such as we can accept." 

This undoubtedly was a most important 
communication. It indicated that the Gov- 
ernment fully intended to purchase the East 
Indian Railway, though they did not intend 
to take it over absolutely, if the Company 



104 HISTORT OF THB B. I. RAILWAT. 

J)roved willing to enter into an arrangement 
or working the line that would meet their 
views. 

Mr. Crawford very carefully considered 
this letter, and having discussed the terras 
with his colleagues wrote to General Stra- 
chey on the 2nd June, 1877, as follows : — 

" I have carefully considered the proposals contained in 
your letter of the 3rd May. It may suffice for present 
purposes if I say that they appear to me to contain the 
oasis of a practical working arrangement in the future." 

Mr. Crawford in his pamphlet proceeds to 
say that the whole subject was then, or soon 
afterwards, subraitted for the judgment of the 
Government of India, and further action on 
the part of the Board became unnecessary, 
until, it being made known later on in 
the autumn that General Strachey was 
about to go to India, the Board applied for 
and obtained the sanction of the Govern- 
ment to their Consulting Engineer, Mr. 
Rendel, proceeding to Calcutta also, in order 
to facilitate, by his presence on the spot, the 
settlement of many matters affecting the 
Railway that were likely to come under 
discussion. 

The reply of the Government of India to 
the reference of Lord Salisbury having been 
received, Mr. Crawford was invited by Sir 
Louis Malet, the Under Secretary of State, 
on the 16th July, 1878, to call at the India 
Office, and on doing so found that he had 
been entrusted by Lord Cranbrook (who had 



OOMPLBTION OF PUB0HA6B NB60TIATI0NS. 105 

taken the place of Lord Salisbury as Seere- 
ary of State) with the negotiations. 

Frequent communications followed, in the 
course of which the whole matter was fully 
discussed, and ultimately Mr. Crawford met 
in the room of Sir Louis Malet at the India 
Office, Sir John Strachey, the Finance 
Minister in India, Colonel Williams, the 
Under Secretary in the Department of 
Public Works at Calcutta, Mr. Cassells of 
the Council, Mr. Danvers, the Government 
Director of Guaranteed Railways, and Mr. 
Waterfield, the Financial Secretary. This 
meeting led to still further discussion, and 
finally an official letter was addressed to Mr. 
Crawford, as Chairman of the Board, which 
determined the arrangements subsequently 
agreed to. 

It is unnecessary to trace further the his- 
tory of these transactions, recorded as they 
are in the published proceedings of the Com- 
pany and in the passage of the Bill through 
Parliament. Nor is it necessary to refer to 
the measures taken by the Board to carry 
the provisions of the *' Purchase Act " into 
eflTect. Enough has been said to shew the 
course taken up by preliminary negotiations ; 
what followed is too well known to be de- 
tailed here. 



CHAPTER X* 

Questions before the Board after the pur- 
chase of the railway by government. 
Retrospect of the position of the Com- 
pany AT THE TIME — REDUCTION OF THIRD 
CLASS FARES AND OTHER MATTERS. 

On the last day of the year 1879 the con- 
tracts, under which the mutual relations of 
the Company and the Indian Government 
had subsisted for more than thirty years, ter- 
minated ; the undertaking was transferred 
to the Secretary of State and a fresh agree- 
ment for the management and working of 
the Railway came into force. 

The negotiations with the Secretary of 
State had been long and difficult, but the ulti- 
mate arrangement was satisfactory both to 
the Government and the Company. The real 
object of the Government in making this 
new agreement seems to have been to secure 
to the State a larger share of the profits than 
it received under the previous contracts, and 
at the same time to leave the working and 
management of the line in the hands of the 
Company who had so successfully administer- 
ed its affairs in the past. 

The general principle of the new contract 
in regard to the division of earnings was that, 
having ascertained the amount of net working 



DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS ASSETS. 107 

profits, certain deductions were made in res- 
pect of interest charges, contributions to pro- 
vident fund, and so forth, and the balance, 
called the surplus profits, was then left to be 
divided between the Government and the 
Company in the proportion 

4-5th8 to Government. 

l-5th to the Company. ^ 

Now at the time of the purchase of the 
Railway by the State, the Company had in 
hand certain surplus assets, amounting to 
over one hundred thousand pounds, and the 
question arose how this sum should be dis- 
posed of. Part of it consisted of unclaimed 
interest and dividends and could not be 
touched, but there remained at the disposal 
of the shareholders about seventy thousand 
pounds and out of this it was decided to 

gay thirty-four thousand to Sir Macdonald 
tephenson, in commutation of a pension 
voted to hini some years previously, and 
from the balance to make a grant to Mr. 
Robert Ingram Crawford, the Chairman 
of the Company, whose exceptional ser- 
vices called for some special recognition. 
Mr. Crawford was one of the few gentle- 
men who met together, before the East 
Indian Railway Company was formed, to 
consider the question whether the railway 
system was adapted to India and if so how 
money for the purpose of constructing a rail- 
way could best be provided. He and Mr. 
Stephenson then agreed that nothing could 



108 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

be done without a Government guarantee, 
but it took them some years to establish the 
principle of a guarantee, and not until this 
had been done could the Company be formed. 
Mr. Crawford had been with the Company 
from its initiation ; he had made himself 
master of its history and of every one of its 
transactions ; he had been instrumental in 
introducing many economies and finally had 
devoted several years of his life to the negotia- 
tions with the Government, which haa just 
been brought to a successful issue. It was 
decided to make him a grant of fifteen thou- 
sand pounds, and to divide the balance of the 
surplus assets among the shareholders. 

There were also at this time certain 
balances at the credit of the " Savings Bank" 
and " Fine Fund" standing in the books of 
the Company, apart from the funds of the 
undertaking, which were also available for 
disposal. 

The position of the subordinate staff of 
the Company in India, with reference to the 
education of their children and placing them 
out in life, had long been an object of solici- 
tude with the Directors, and it was thought 
that this money might be devoted to the 
establishment of a school in the hills for the 
education of the children of Company's ser- 
vants. The amount available from the com- 
bined funds was rather more than four lakhs 
of rupees and was at least sufficient to form a 
nucleus for carrying out a scheme of the kind. 



PKOPOSBD BEDUCTION OF THIRD CLASS FAKES. 109 

Such were among the questions before the 
Board at the time of the purchase of the 
Railway by the Government, and we shall 
hear more about the hill school later on. 

The report for the first half of the year 
1880 deals for the first time with the under- 
taking of the East Indian Railway as a 
whole. Previously the accounts relating to 
the Main and Jubbulpore lines had been kept 
separately, but on the first of January 1880, 
the undertaking was handed over to the 
Company to be worked without distinction 
of parts, and consequently the figures, from 
this time onward, relate to the work done by, 
and the expenditure and earnings of, the two 
lines together. 

Questions which had been deferred pending 
settlement of negotiations with the Govern- 
ment as to the future of the Railway now 
came up for decision. In the new contract 
the Secretary of State took power to " re- 
quire the fare of passengers conveyed in 
dosed carriages with seats to be reduced to 
any rate not below two pies per mile." It 
will be remembered that the Board had 
already had imder consideration the question, 
of reducing the third class fare, which waa 
then three pies per mile, but although they 
were not yet prepared to make a definite 
move, the wishes of Government, as indicated 
in the contract, were clearly in support 
of such a measure — what actually followed 
is described later on. 



110 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

Then again the report of Mr. Rendel on 
the subject of his last visit to India had to 
be dealt with. The chief object of this visit, 
as already indicated, had been to consider 
with Mr. Leslie, the Company's Agent at 
Calcutta, what extension of the works of 
the Railway, having reference to the then 
recent rapid increase of traffic, might, on the 
assumption of its continuance, be necessary 
within the next few years. 

The subject which first engaged Mr. 
Rendel's attention was one to which the 
constantly augmenting traffic of the line 
attached a daily increasing importance, 
namely, the provision of proper means for 
transferring goods, on their arrival at Howrah, 
from the Railway to the ships in the Hooghly 
river or to warehouses in Calcutta or Howrah 
and vice versa. 

The warehouses were mostly on the Cal- 
cutta side of the river, and goods leaving 
the East Indian Railway could only reach 
them either by being carted over the floating 
bridge or by boat. A connection by- rail was 
therefore greatly to be desired. 

Messrs. Rendel and Leslie now held the 
opinion that the connection should be made 
about 24 miles north of Calcutta, thus placing 
the East Indian Railway in direct communi- 
cation with the Eastern Bengal Railway and 
the Port Trust Jetties along the Calcutta 
fore-shore. The Board accepted their views 
and the Government after considering the 



JUBILEE BRIDGE DESIGNED. Ill 

matter proposed that the bridge should be 
constructed by the East Indian Railway as 
part of the undertaking. 

The cost of the bridge, excluding the sum 
required for the approaches and for the 
junction of the two lines, was originally 
estimated at Rs. 20,00,000 and the Railway 
Company at once agreed to undertake the 
work. Mr. Leslie came to England and, in 
consultation with Mr. A. M. Kendel, drew 

X designs which were sanctioned shortly 
rwards. 

In 1880 Dr. Saise, p.g.s.. Assistant Mana- 
ger of the Company's Collieries, made a very 
careful survey of the coal-fields then opened 
up in Bengal and summed up his conclusions 
in the following words : — 

" The output of the coal-field is from 
400,000 to 450,000 tons per annum, of which 
the East Indian Railway raises 250,000 to 
300,000 tons ; assuming an output of 500,000 
tons, the coal-field will have a life of 162 
years." 

The output of the collieries has for many 
years very largely exceeded Dr. Saise's esti- 
mate of 500,000 tons a year„ and as far as 
the East Indian Railway is- concerned, its 
collieries are unable to turn out enough coal 
to meet its own requirements. The Rail- 
way has in consequence to buy part of its 
supplies in the open market, but then it must 
not be forgotten that the field of operations 
has also been greatly extended. 



112 HISTOBT OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

The length of line open in 1880 was l,504j 
miles, or from Howrah to Delhi with certain 
branch lines. The total length of railways 
open to traffic throughout India was at that 
time 9,148| miles, and we find in the adminis- 
tration report a reference to the development 
of Indian Railways, which illustrates the 
feeling of Government in those days : — 

'* The year 1880 is remarkable in the history of railways 
in India as bein^ connected with three important events. 
It has seen an unprecedentedly rapid and successful deve- 
lopment of state railways, it has witnessed the introduc- 
tion of private enterprise into railway construction, it 
marks the date of the railway conference." 

The battle of the gauges had only just 
been determined and railway competition 
had, compared with present day conipetition, 
hardly begun. Still in the Traffic Manager's 
report for the second half of the year a refer- 
ence is made to competition ; speaking of the 
speed of goods trains the remark appears : — 

" It behoves us now that Hallway Companies are compet- 
ing with us so keenly, to increase as far as possible the 
speed of goods trains f and again — " It is much to be 
regretted that our new engines cannot be run at a higher 
speed than 13 and 16 miles an hour with 600 ton loads.'' 

The head-quarters of the Traffic Depart- 
ment were at Jamalpur, Mr. N. St. Le^er 
Carter was the Traffic Manager, he had with 
him a Deputy and a Personal Assistant and 
the line was divided into five Traffic Districts. 
Some idea of the working may be derived 
from a glance at the time tables and goods 
and coaching tariffs of the period. 



TRAIN SBBVIOB IN 1880. 113 

The Chord Ime mail train used to leave 
Howrah at 9 p.m., Calcutta time, it reached 
Dinapore at 10-25 the next morning, Alla- 
habad at 7-8 P.M., halted at Cawnpore from 
1-20 to 1-50 A.M. and arrived at Delhi at 
2-45 P.M., on the second day, thus taking 42|- 
hours between Howrah and Delhi, a through 
speed of little more than 22|- miles an hour. 
The load was 16 vehicles and no third class 
passengers were carried below Allahabad ; 
the parcels and luggage traffic was nominal, so 
that it is hard to find any justification for 
what appear to have been most unnecessari- 
Iv long halts all along the route. That at 
Cawnpore, in the middle of the night, could 
only have been allowed with the object of 
refining time lost elsewhere. 

The down mail did the same run in prac- 
tically the same time as the up, and besides 
the mail trains there was but one through 
passenger train each way, which took over 
53 hours to cover the 954 miles. 

A second passenger train terminated at 
Allahabad, a mail and a passenger train ran 
between Howrah and Burdwan, and a few 
locals for a shorter distance, between Howrah 
and Pundooah. The load of these local trains 
was 20 vehicles. 

The number of stations open for traffic 
was naturally far less than now, some of the 
runs on the Howrah district being as long 
as 12 miles, while on the Upper Districts 
this was the ordinary distance between 

H,SIB 8 



114 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

stations and some runs were far longer, as 
much in fact as 16|^ miles. 

The Coaching tariff, then called the Time 
and Fare Table, was a small volume of 78 
pages and contained train timings, fares and 
rules. The intermediate class fare was 4|- 
pies per mile, and the third class 3 pies, but 
as has been already indicated, the question 
of reducing the latter was under consider- 
ation. The TraflSc Manager held the opinion 
that reduction was unnecessary, and his 
opinion was shared by other oflScials in India. 
Naturally, the question was one for consider- 
able controversy. There were two proposals, 
one to reduce the fare from 3 to 2f pies per 
mile, the other to reduce to 2 pies. Both pro- 
posals were strenuously opposed by the 
Agent, the TraflSc Manager and Chief Audi- 
tor, mainly on the ground that if either of 
them had the anticipated effect of increasing 
abnormally, the number of passengers to be 
carried, the provision of suflScient vehicles 
in which to cariy them would become an 
impossibility ! In spite of this opposition, 
the reduction to 2 J pies, ordered by Govern- 
ment as an experimental measure, was sup- 
ported by the Home Board, who indeed had 
no alternative but to acquiesce, although 
they were admittedly doubtful as to the ex- 
pecfiency of the move. The reduced fare was 
introduced on the Jubbulpore branch and on 
the main line above Nairn in Januaiy 1882, 
being extended below Naini in July following. 



BBDUCnOM OF THB THIRD CLASS FARE. 115 

The earnings from third class passengers 
at once responded; in 1881 they amounted 
to Ks. 90,02,162, in 1882 they went up to 
Ks. 99,99,999. It is only fair to mention that 
this OTeat rise in the earnings was partly due 
to a Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, still there 
was never, in after years, any loss in a year's 
:figures ; on the contrary the third class traffic 
continued to respond and the lesson of the 
reduction is one to be remembered. To illus- 
trate how strenuously it was opposed in 
India, the following extract from the Traffic 
Manager's report for the first half of 1881 
will suffice : — 

'* Third class passengers as usual shew a decided increase 
on the figures of any previous half year, rendering still more 
incomprehensible and inexplicable the course to be pursued 
of reducing the third class fare by one-sixth." 

Successive half-yearly reports harped on 
the question, but the oidy explanation can be 
that previous remarks had in some way or 
another to be justified ; thus we find that in 
the second half-year of 1882, a temporary 
falling off in intermediate class passengers 
is attributed to the reduction in third class 
fares, and again in 1884, it was actually pro- 
posed that the old fares should be reverted 
to, the Traffic Manager writing : — 

**It is evident from the low average distance travelled 
by third class passengers, that the reduction made in 1882 
in the hope of encouraging longer journeys has entirely 
failed in its object, and I Uiink the time has now arrived 
to revert to our former rate of 3 pies per mile for the 
greater portion of the line. " 



116 fflSTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

So much for the controversy on third 
class passenger fares, the reduction was 
evidently a very sore point, but the results 
proved from the outset that it was fully 
justified. Since those days the average dis- 
tance travelled by each passenger has become 
still shorter, but this is due, not to reduc- 
tion in fares, but to the greater number of 
people who have gradually been induced to 
take the rail for short journeys, instead of 
walking the distance, and also to the opening 
of alternative routes. 

The fares for first and second class passen- 
gers were much the same in 1880 as at the 
present time, first class one anna and-a-half 
and second class nine pies, but no reduction 
was then made, as it is now, for long distance 
journeys. Efforts were however being con- 
sidered to develop the higher classes, and 
we read as a novel feature in Indian Railway 
administration, of the opening of negotia- 
tions with Messrs. Thos. Cook & Son, the 
well-known tourist agents. In the year 1 8 80, 
Messrs. Thos. Cook & Son started their 
first agency in India at Bombay. 

The goods and mineral traffic was contend- 
ing with what we would now consider a very 
high tariff. Giridih coal worth Rs. 3 a ton 
in wagons at the Collieries, cost Rs. 30 a ton 
by the time it reached Lahore, while to 
Calcutta the freight charge from Sitarampur 
was no less than lis. 3-13 a ton. No rebates 
whatever were allowed and with such a tariff 



COAL TRAFFIC. 117 

in force there is no wonder that English 
coal readily found its way to Calcutta. The 
Traffic Manager in hi s report for the second 
half of the year 1880 remarks : — 

" During the fimt three months of the half year there 
was a brisk traffic in coal to the Port, but in October and 
subsequently, owing to large arrivals of foreign coal 
brought by steamers and ships as ballast, the demand for 
Indian coal considerably abated." 

The quantity of English coal imported 
into India in the year was no less than 
€83,768 tons. Madras found it cheaper 
to use patent fuel brought from England 
than to depend on Indian coal. The total 
weight of coal despatched downwards in the 
year 1880 was 563,241 tons ; since then we 
have seen in a single year a downwards coal 
trafficof 4,881,524 tons. 

But though the downwards coal traffic 
was so poor, the upwards was still poorer ; 
the upwards figures for the year being 
168,990 tons against an upwards traffic in 
the year 1905 of 1,260,740 tons. Efibrts 
were however being made to develop a 
better traffic with the railways and mills in 
Upper India. In October 1880 the charge 
for coal in full wagon loads, carried not less 
than 300 miles, was reduced from ^th to ^th 
pie per maund per mile. It was hoped at 
the time that this reduction would enable up- 
country mills to use coal in place of wood fuel. 

But it was not only the coal rates that 
required reducing, the coal-fields of Bengal, 
as we now know them, were scarcely touched 



118 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

and the assistance given to colliery pro- 
prietors was nominal. It was recorded at the 
time, as a great concession, that with a view 
to the encouragement of trade, the Railway 
Company womd lend second-hand rails to 
those who could not meet the entire cost of 
providing themselves with the necessary 
sidings to their pits, and in 1881 the Company 
discontinued the sale of coal to outsiders. 

Apart from coal, the rates for all classes 
of merchandise were exceedingly high 
compared with what they now are, and 
in some instances transport diflSculties were 
enormous. As an instance the route from 
Calcutta .to Darjeeling was via Sahebgunge. 
Goods were forwarded by rail to Sahebgunge, 
thence by steam ferry across the Ganges to 
a place called Caragola and onward by bul- 
lock cart. The charge for tea from Darjeel- 
ing, where by the way the East Indian 
Railway had an out-agency, to Caragola, 
was over Rs. 2-0-0 per maund, and for s^t in 
the upwards direction nearly Rs. 3-0-0, and 
yet the traffic was growing. 

The rate for wheat from Delhi to Howrah 
was 1 3 annas per maund compared with 0-7-11 
per maund, the present rate. The whole of 
the goods tariff was contained in one small 
volume ; now the goods tariff comprises three 
large volumes, and there is a separate one for 
coal. The total goods earnings of the year 
were well under 300 lacs of rupees or less 
than a poor half year's earnings now. 



OPENING OF RAJPUTANA RAILWAY. 119 

But great changes were coming on apace. 
Up to 1881 Calcutta was much in advance 
of Bombay in the quantity of wheat and 
seeds exported from India, while Kurrachee 
was a port of minor significance. The open- 
ing up of a large wheat-producing country, by 
the construction of the Rajputana Railway, 
altered the aspect entirely, for in addition to 
opening up a new country, this Railway also 
had the eTOct of directly connecting the Pun- 
jab with Bombay ; and although Calcutta 
still continued to do well in seeds, Bombay 
shot ahead with its wheat exports and 
following this the source of wheat supply 
gradually moved from Bengal to the North- 
west. 

The opening up of the Rajputana Railway 
shortened the distance between Delhi and 
Bombay by 345 miles and distances now 
compared : — 

Miles. 

Bombay to Delhi vid BombaT, Baroda and Central 

India and Rajputana Railway ... ... 889 

Ditto. viV^ Jubbulpore ... ... 1,234 

Ditto Calcutta to Delhi .. ... 964 

As a consequence the question of competi- 
tion between feombay and Calcutta assumed 
what was described as "a position of grave 
importance," and so much consideration had 
to DC given to it that Mr. Leslie, the Agent 
and Chief Engineer, was relieved of his duties 
as Chief Engineer, retaining only charge 
of the Hooghly bridge, and Mr. C. H. 



120 HISTOBY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Denham was appointed Chief Engineer. This 

2uestion of competition between Bombay and 
/alcutta is dealt with however in greater 
detail elsewhere. 

In spite of all this the first half of the 
year 1883 will long be remembered by those 
who were on the line at the time as a record 
wheat year. The Howrah sheds were blocked 
for weeks, with the grain which came from 
Cawnpore, Benares, Patna and other points, 
and the resources of the Railway to carry it 
were taxed to the utmost. Mr. Urban 
Broughton, who was oflSciating TraflSc 
Manager, devised a system of night deli- 
veries from Howrah passenger station, and 
even third class carriages w^ere requisitioned 
to load the grain when wagons could not be 
got. As a climax the water-supply on the 
Chord line failed and much of the traffic had 
to be diverted over the single line via the 
loop. Fortunately this did not occur until 
the month of June, by \^hen the great bulk 
of the traffic had already passed down and 
the rains were near at hand. 

In these days the earnings from wheat 
were often heavier than from coal ; in the 
first half of 1883 the freight earned on the 
wheat carried w^as over 31 lacs of rupees, 
whereas from coal the takings were under 
30 lacs. 

The wheat traffic of 1883 was the heaviest 
ever carried until 1904. The figures of these 
two years are interesting as indicating, not 



NEW PBOVIDBNT FUND RULES INTRODUCED. 121 

only the great increase in weight carried in 
the latter period, but the reduction in freight 
earned owing to the heavy reductions in 
rates charged. 

Tods. Bb. 

1883 ... 469,173 63,76,536 
1904 ... 769,162 48,46,310 

Some attention was given in the early 
eighties to the question of train loads, the 
loads of goods trains above Moghalsarai 
were raised from 400 to 450 tons and below 
Asansol from 600 to 700 tons. But al- 
though these loads were permissible it is not 
evident that measures were taken to ensure 
their being availed of, as the average load of 
goods trains was not more than 175 tons. 

With the sanction of Government new 
Provident Fund rules were introduced in 
1881. Under these rules, though the main 
principles of the original fund were upheld, 
certain important modifications were intro- 
duced. A distinction which previously ex- 
isted between Europeans and non-Europeans 
was abolished, all servants of the Company, 
without distinction of race, drawing Rs. 15 
per mensem and above, were called upon to 
subscribe 5 per cent, of their pay to the Fund 
and each member was given the option of 
subscribing an additional amount not exceed- 
ing another 5 per cent. It was laid down 
that the contribution of the undertaking 
would be declared on the net profits of the 
year only, and that no ad interim contribution 



122 HISTOBT OF THB B. I. BAILWAT. 

would be made in respect of the first half 
of the year as had hitherto been done. 
These rules continued in force until 1903 
when, as shewn in another chapter, they 
were further modified and the existing rules 
introduced. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Growth of the Coal Trade in 1883 — The 

QUESTION OF WORKING THE EasT InDIAN 

Railway by State or Company Manage- 
ment — Agitation in Calcutta regard- 
ing construction of the Grand Chord. 
— Retirement of Sir Bradford Leslie. 
— Death of Mr. Crawford. 

Following the great wheat export trade 
of 1883, there was a short period of depres- 
sion. In 1883 everjrthing had been in 
favour of the exportation of Indian wheat ; 
the stocks held in England and on the 
Continent were small and there were poor 
harvests, both in Europe and America. But 
in 1884 the position was reversed and the 
average price of wheat in England became 
lower than it had been since the year 1780. 
During the first half of 1884 there was, on 
the East Indian Railway, a decrease in 
wheat traffic alone of no less than 158,084 
tons, and the only considerable set off was an 
increase of 53,785 tons in the weight of coal 
carried. 

The coal trade which for some years had 
been slowly developing, was now beginning 
to attract attention. When the East Indian 
Railway was constructed, coal was almost 



124 HISTORY OF THK K. I. RAILWAY. 

unknown in India. Mr. Crawford referring 
to this in 1885, remarked : — 

" If a man fell in with a bit of coal in his walk, he would 
pick it up as a curiosity, and throw it away because it 
dirtied his finger. That was all that was known of coal 
SO years ago. It was the act of this Company which 
brought coal to light. From a basis of comparatively 
nothing 30 years ago, we have now risen to carry one 
million and a half tons in the course of the year. The 
native mind is so full of prejudice, that one might have been 
afraid that the use of an article like coal would have excited 
some superstitious feeling, but when the native came to 
know that coal was only fossilized wood, he had no objection 
to burn it, and with such an enormous population as we 
have in India, with such large cities and factories rising in 
all quarters and steam engines and so on, we see the 
explanation of the great increase in the quantity of coal 
brought to us for conveyance. So it will go on and very 
largely increase. I venture to predict that the time will 
come, which I shall probably not witness, when the article 
of coal will be our largest source of profit." 

Mr. Crawford had great foresight and his 
prediction has come true, but he seems to 
have looked more to the internal consump- 
tion of coal than to the export trade, which 
has been where the largest growth has 
actually come. The natives of India have 
not yet taken freely to the use of coal as fuel 
for domestic purposes, when they do so the 
consumption will be enormous ; and it is 
perfectly certain that sooner or later the 
time must arrive when they will have to, for 
wood fuel and charcoal are becoming more 
and more scarce every year, and there is 
nothing left to burn, but dried cowdung or 
coal. Already we find coal used by natives 
for brick burning and for manufacturing 



STATE VKRSUS COMPANY MANAOBM£NT. 125 

purposes. Sweetmeat makers use it and 
it is burnt by blacksmiths even in remote 
villages, but for cooking purposes, or for 
heating houses in the cold season, or for 
other similar domestic use, we very seldom see 
coal burnt, except perhaps in the vicinity of 
the colliery district or in Calcutta and the 
neighbourhood. The retail price is in fact 
still too high to suit the pockets of the 
majority. 

In the year 1884, in the course of an 
enquiry before a select Committee of the 
House of Commons on " East India Railway 
Communications," Mr. Juland Danvers, the 
then Grovernment Director of Guaranteed 
Railway Companies and Secretary in the 
Public Works Department at the India 
Office, being asked to state his reasons for an 
opinion he had given, that he thought that 
the Agency of both the State and of private 
enterprise might usefully be employed in 
working railways in India, though, as a 
principle, he preferred that of companies, 
replied : — 

*' The advantages of making use of private enterprise, even 
when assisted by guarantees or subsidies, appear to me to 
be these. It relieves an already overburdened Government 
of duties which can be equally well performed by others. 
It prevents an increase to Government establishments and 
to pension lists. It secures more steady progress, by 
avoiding interruptions to which State undertakings are 
liable. It secures also the supply of money as required, 
and its application to the special purpose which an arrange- 
ment between the Government and the company is intended 
to fulfil, whereas war, famine, and other exigencies of State 
may interfere with the supply of money when most required 



126 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

for works under Qoyemment. It avoids the disadvantages 
appertaining to State agencj, which is liable, more or less, 
according to circumstances and to the character of those in 
authority, to be affected by influences from which a 
company under proper State and legislative supervision is 
free. It ensures better than any other way the formation 
of railway systems or administrations of suitable size. It 
is the best way of securing a healthy competition . Supposing 
a system of Government agency to be carried out in its 
entirety, a huge state monopoly would be established which 
would not be advantageous to the country or conducive 
to the interests of the various districts traversed. Upon 
the whole, therefore, I think that, under suitable legislative 
enactments, and with fair competition, the best results will 
be secured by employing companies as far as practicable. 
Might I be allowed to quote a high authority in support of 
this view, namely. Lord Salisbury. When he was Secretary 
of State he had to consider the question of purchasing the 
East Indian Railway and in a despatch to the Government 
of India relating to that proposition he says : — 

* The question is shall the Railwav, if purchased by 
the Government, be worked directly by the State, or 
shall an attempt be made to continue the working 
through the agency of a company, suitably constituted, 
to which the Railway shall be leased for a term of 
years ? I am not disposed to call in question the possi- 
bility of carrying out the working of a railway, such 
as the East Indian, through Gk)vernment agency in a 
satisfactory manner. But die difiiculties in the way of 
combining the habitual, and indeed necessary rigidity, 
with which a system of Government financifu and 
administrative control must work, with the freedom of 
action required for the successful management of a 
constantly varying business like that of a railway, 
made up of a vast mass of details, would be consider- 
able ; and to avoid them would require both a happy 
selection of officers and well-contrived administrative 
rules and methods, which, though no doubt attainable, 
could not be confidently or permanently reckoned upon. 
1 view with no small anxiety the ever continued expansion 
of the vast establishments of your Government, which, 
as they grow, place an ever increasing weight of business 
on yourself and your officers, whose strength is already 
over-taxed, and leave an ever diminishing area for 
independent action That such a state of things is, to 
some extent, an almost necessary consequence of our 
position in India, may be true ; but this in itself is an 



COMPANY, MANAGBHBNT PREFBBRBD. 127 

argument for resistiDg the tendency, when it may be 
done without the sacrifice of objects of evident import- 
ance. For such reasons I should in the present case, as 
now advised, gladly hear from Your Excellency's Gov- 
ernment that you were of opinion that the working of 
the East Indian Eailway might, without objection, be 
entrusted to a private company, in the event of the 
purchase of the line being effected.' 
"The result we know. The working arrangement was 

made, and I think it will be admitted that the best results 

have ensued." 

Mr. Danvers strongly advocated the policy 
of employing private enterprise and experi- 
ence, in opposition to State line management, 
and Mr. Urawford in 1885 wrote a brochure 
or pamphlet called " The Result we know," 
the object of which was, by an analysis of 
statistics for the preceding five years, to 
verify the truth upon which Mr. Danvers' 
argument was founded, and to place on record 
what private experience and private direction 
had effected, in the case of the East Indian 
Railway. 

It is unnecessary to quote in detail from 
this brochure, but as a result of the examina- 
tion of the figures relating to the coaching 
and goods traffic, the Board of Directors wrote 
several letters to the Agent in India, impress- 
ing upon him the necessity of examining into 
and cultivating every possible means of increas- 
ing the traffic of the line. Particular stress 
was laid on the desirability of developing 
the local movement of passengers and goods, 
by reducing charges and affording facilities 
between large internal centres, and by 



128 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

encouraging the use of coal for domestic 
purposes. The letters in fact were a clear 
indication of the liberal intentions of the 
Board and a guide to the policy they desired 
should generally be followed. 

During the next fewyears the competition 
between Bombay and (Jalcutta became more 
acute and considerable reductions were made 
in the railway rates, by the different 
administrations interested. At about the 
same time some correspondence arose as to 
the construction of the Grand Chord line, 
attempts being made to influence public 
opinion towards its being carried out by the 
Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway, but the 
claim of the East Indian was beyond dispute 
and nothing came of the agitation. 

One of Mr. Crawford's last acts as Chair- 
man of the East Indian Railway Company 
was to publish " some observations on the 
remarks of Sir Alexander Wilson at the 
Annual General Meeting of the Bengal 
Chamber of Commerce on the 28th Feb- 
ruary 1889 and other sayings and doings at 
Calcutta in connection with the proposed 
Grand Chord line." 

The President of the Chamber of Com- 
merce had said at the Annual Meeting held 
in Calcutta on the 28th February, 1889, that 
the East Indian Railway was the sole means 
of transport between the North-West Pro- 
vinces and Calcutta ; that its resources were 
inadequate for the trade of the country; 



X. B. B.'S LETTKR OK THB B. I. R. 129 

that it maintained a high tariff of rates and 
only granted concessions when competition 
necessitated its doing so ; that trade was 
gradually being deflected from Calcutta and 
that an independent alternative route was 
necessary, in order to break down the mono- 
poly possessed by the East Indian Railway. 
On all these points Mr. Crawford had 
observations to make and in addition re- 
printed a letter from X. B. E. which had 
appeared in the Englishman of the 13th 
March, 1889. This letter afforded a most 
complete answer to the statements put for- 
ward at the meeting of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, and Mr. Crawford had but little to 
add to it. The writer, who it is not difficult 
to identify, was even as long ago as 1889, one 
of the best-known railway men in India. 
The letter was as follows : — 

Sir, 

I have read with much interest the remarks made by the 
President at the recent annual meeting of the Bengal 
Chamber of r'ommerce, on the subject of the extension and 
development of the railway system in India, and more 
particularly the construction of a second line of railway 
between the North -West Provinces and the port of Calcutta. 
The President had come to the conclusion and the Hon. 
Mr. 8teel considered Sir A. Wilson's remarks worthy 
of profound enquiry and deliberation, that a second railway 
under management independent of the East Indian Bailway 
was really required, on the following grounds : — 

1. That it has been seen over and over again, when 
there have been times of pressure, how inadequate the 
resources of the East Indian Bailwav have been for the 
requirements of the State and the trade of the country. 

2. That the East Indian Bailway being a monopolist 
company, a high tariff of rates has been maintained, from 
which concessions have been so grudgingly extracted that 

H, BIB 9 



130 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

Calcutta merchants have seen their trade gradually but 
steadily deflecting to the other side of India, and under 
existing circumstances have been powerless to stop this 
deflection. 

3. That the competition resulting from the construction 
of an alternative route would ensure proper accommodation 
for goods and traffic and bring down rates sufficientlv, to 
attract again to Calcutta, a considerable amount of the 
traffic which is now attracted by cheaper land carriage to 
the Western Coast. 

4 That competition alone will secure that control of 
rates so essential to the development of the resources of 
the country and that all control over the East Indian 
Railway rates has been abandoned by (Government. 

If you will permit me to remark, under each of these 
four heads, I shall be much obliged. 

The line stated to be necessary is that affording an 
alternative route between Moghalsarai and Calcutta. 

1. The statement that the £ast Indian Railway 
has repeatedly failed in times of pressure seems rather 
sweeping. It is extremely questionable whether it 
can be stated that the capacity of this Railway to 
transport traffic over its lines between stations has 
ever been approached. There is a double line through- 
out between Moghalsarai and Howrah, and the only 
means of ascertaining whether more lines of rails are 
required seems to be to determine what daily tonnage 
can be hauled over the present lines, and what tonnage 
could be given by Calcutta merchants, with favourable 
rates to Calcutta, as compared with the charges to 
Western Ports, taken advantage of by Calcutta. If it 
be found that the double line of the East Indian 
Railway Company is prepared to deal with a consider- 
able progressive development of traffic, why should 
money be sunk in 400 or more miles of new line, if the 
alternative railway is intended to enter Calcutta at a 
separate terminus from that of the East Indian Rail- 
way, as would appear to be the intention of the Presi- 
dent of the Chamber of Commerce ? The difficulties 
referred to by the President have, even in the merchants' 
view, been practically confined to terminal accommoda- 
tion. The only serious difficulty was in 1883, when 
export trade developed suddenly beyond all expecta- 
tions. Merchants had neither cargo, boats nor carts 
to clear arrivals to their full extent ; no steamers, nor 
warehouses in which to stow consignments when 
cleared, the result being that the then existing 



X. B. K.'S LRTl'BR ON THE K. I. U. 181 

accommodation at Howrah became " congested *' and 
fventnally rolling stock, instead of transporting grain 
and seeds, became locked up in warehousing them at 
Howrah. Since 1883 the railway accommodation 
has been largely increased, and only three years later, 
in 1886, Howrah dealt with the same weight of traffic 
in the busy months as in 1883, without difficulties 
either to merchants or the railway. Since 1886 the 
shed room at Howrah has been further increased, and 
there is now also the option to merchants to deliver on 
the Calcutta side. 

2. If the East Indian Eailway is a monopolist 
company, it must be admitted that it uses its powers 
with great consideration towards its constituents. The 
Administration Beport recently issued by the Director- 
General of Railways shews that the charges levied by 
certain railways for the carriage of goods vary as be- 
low ; — 

Average sum in pies received for carrying a ton of 
goods one mile : — 

Eadt Indian. North Wost- Great Indian Baroda RajputMna. 
em. Peninsular. 

5-96 6-43 8-21 919 808 

The charges by the East Indian Railway are, therefore 
much lower than those of the lines serving Bombay and 
Kurrachee. In other words Calcutta has an immense 
advantage over Bombay in the matter of railway 
charges. 

3. As explained under head (1) it is very much open 
to question, indeed, whether Calcutta, including Howrah, 
has not ample accommodation for the present, and even 
for a largely increased trade. On the other hand, there 
seems to have been no attempt to show that a new line, 
running, as must the alternative route, through a 
country already served by the East Indian Railway 
and branches, can attract any considerable new traffic. 
If the two railways were under separate managements, 
and proceeded to competition, the undoubtedly low 
rates already charged by the East Indian would be 
liable to further reduction, and there would be every 
probability of the new railway becoming a burden to 
its owners. There is only one railway in India charg- 
ing lower rates than the East Indian, and that railway, 
although open for a number of jyears, returns only 3^ 
per cent, per annum on the capital outlay. As regards 



132 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

the alleged cheaper land carriage to Bombay, the Pre- 
sident was clearly in error in his statement on this point. 
The distance from Calcutta to Bombay, vid Jubbulpore, 
is 1,400 miles, Jubbulpore being distant 616 miles from 
Bombay and 784 miles from Calcutta. Even at Jub- 
bulpore and at the important station of Sihora, near to 
Jubbulpore, charges are greatly in favour of Calcutta, 
notwithstanding the shortest lead to Bombay, while 
from Kirwee 673 miles from Bombay and 727 miles 
from Calcutta, the charges for grain and seeds are, per 
hundred maunds— 

Es. As. P. 

To Bombay ... 69 6 

To Calcutta ... 50 

4. The question whether the control of rates %as 
been abandoned by Government appears to be one 
requiring the confirmation of Government or of the 
East Indian Railway. It is to the mutual interests 
of Calcutta merchants and of the East Indian Railway 
to keep trade to Calcutta and prevent diversion to 
Western Ports, and all will iigree that the East Indian 
Railway must be reasonable in its charges, when the 
fact is known that last year Bombay got the lion's share 
of the trade from an important station, distant 540 
miles from Calcutta and 880 miles from Bombay, rates 
Rs. 43 per hundred maunds in favour of Calcutta. In 
other words the charge to Bombay was almost twice as 
much as to Calcutta. 

All circumstances considered, it is submitted that 
further enquiry on the part of the Chamber is desir- 
able regarding the facilities they already receive from 
the existing line of communication. 

X B. E. 

To this letter no convincing reply was 
forthcoming, but after many years the Gov- 
ernment, as will be seen in another chapter, 
sanctioned the construction of the Grand 
Chord line as part of the undertaking of the 
East Indian Railway. 

It need hardly be pointed out that the 
interests of the State and of the East Indian 



OPBNINQ OF JUBILEB BRIDGE. 133 

Railway Company are, and always have 
been, identical, and both would have been 
seriously affected by a diminution of the 
traffic of the Main Line, had the construction 
of the Grand Chord Line been entrusted to a 
rival company. And it is difficult to see that 
the public would in any way have benefited. 

The development of the Bengal and North 
Western Railway led to the opening of the 
Digha Ghslt branch, where it was intended 
that the bulk of the traffic between that 
system and the East Indian Railway should 
be interchanged by means of a steam ferry, 
for the conveyance of wagons across the 
river Ganges. 

The Tarkessur Railway, constructed by 
private enterprise, was handed over to the 
East Indian Railway to work on the 1st 
January, 1885, and in the same year the 
Indian Midland Railway was formed under 
the auspices of the Great Indian Peninsular, 
with the object of connecting that system 
with the East Indian Railway at Cawnpore 
and Agra. The Hooghly Bridge was com- 
pleted and formally opened to traffic by 
His Excellency the Viceroy on the 21st 
February, 1887, receiving from him the 
appropriate name of the " Jubilee Bridge," 
while Sir Bradford Leslie, its constructor, 
was appointed a Knight Commander of the 
Indian Empire. The bridge over the Ganges 
at Benares was also completed in 1887, and 
in the same year the distinction of Knight 



134 HISTORY OF THE E. I. KAILWAY. 

Commander of the Indian Empire was con- 
ferred on Sir Alexander M. Rendel, who had 
then been for upwards of thirty years the 
Consulting Engineer of the Company. 

Sir Bradford Leslie, k.ci.b., retired in 
1887, and was succeeded as Agent by Mr. 
David Wilkinson Campbell, ci.b., who was 
at the time the Locomotive Superintendent 
of the Company. Shortly after his retire- 
ment Sir Bradford Leslie put forward a 
scheme for the construction of a new line of 
railway, between Moghalsarai and the town 
of Hooghly, to compete with the East Indian 
Railway. The Board lost no time in enter- 
ing with the Secretary of State their protest 
against this scheme, on the ground " that 
the construction by this Company of a Grand 
Chord line between Sitarampur and Moghal- 
sarai, the main line originally proposed and 
surveyed by this Company in 1850, would 
be the natural complement to a line following 
the course of the Ganges, whenever the 
circumstances of the country, commercial, 
political or otherwise, should require it and 
justify the large expenditure which it would 
involve.'* 

In 1888 the first portion of the Company's 
hill school at Mussoorie was opened. This 
school which has since proved a great benefit 
to the Company's employes, is not intended 
for the education of the children of servants 
of the superior grade but for the children 
of those who, by reason of their position in 



DEATH OF MB. CRAWFORD. 135 

the service, lack the means of sending them 
to be educated in England. A more detailed 
account of the Hill School will be found 
elsewhere. 

In 1888 Sir Macdonald Stephenson 
resigned his position as Deputy Chairman 
of the Board, though he continued on the 
directorate until 1892, and in 1889 
Mr. Crawford, who for thirty-five years had 
been Chairman of the Company, died. These 
two had been associated in the formation of 
the Company, Mr. Crawford had been a 
Director as early as 1847 and had been 
Chairman of the Board since 1854. His 
services both in the interests of Govern- 
ment and in those of the shareholders had 
been of a specially valuable nature. 

Mr. Crawford, to quote from Herepath, 
" had a great eye for figures "; like all masters 
of the arithmetical and statistical craft, he 
put life and force into his statistics ; giving 
them that margin which never fails to carry 
home the particular point to be inculcated. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Appointment of General Sir Kiohard 
Strachby as Chairman — His visit to India. 

On the 10th of October, 1889, General 
Straehey was appointed Chairman of the 
Board of Directors, and immediately decided 
upon a personal visit to India. Accom- 
panied by Sir Alexander Rendel, the Consult- 
ing Engineer of the Company, he sailed in 
January and arrived in Bombay on the 1st 
February, 1890. 

General Straehey remained in India until 
the middle of March, and during his six weeks' 
stay dealt with many important questions* 
He instituted an enquiry into the routine of 
the (company's work, by appointing a commit- 
tee to investigate the manner in which all 
departments were conducted ; the general ob- 
ject being to simplify procedure and expedite 
the transaction of business without impair- 
ing efficiency. He gave his attention to the 
train service, and particularly to the transit of 
goods, directing that immediate steps should 
be taken to improve the speed of trains, and 
that "at all events one despatch shall be 
provided to carry goods of the higher class 
directly to Cawnpore," for in those days there 
was no direct service between Calcutta and 




Photo, hy Fredk: HoUyer. 

LTEUT.-GENL. SIR RICHARD STRACHEY, R.E., 
G.C.S.I., LL.D.. F.R.S., F.R.G.S, 

Ch>iirman, East Indian Kaiuwax. 



QBNL. 8TRA0HBT IN INDIA. 137 

Cawnpore, and merchants complained bitter- 
ly of the unconscionable time their consign- 
ments took in transit. He arranged for sanc- 
tion to the sinking of trial pits to test the 
quality of coal in the Jherriah coal-field, with 
a view to the opening up of that field by exten- 
ding the Barrakur branch line, which then 
terminated at Barrakur, across the river. He 
attended meetings of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, both in Calcutta and Cawnpore, and 
originated the idea of a local Consultative 
Board. He studied the question of coal rates, 
and modified the terms under which sidings to 
mills and collieries were constructed, so as to 
make them less burdensome than they then 
were. He re-opened the question of cons- 
tructing the Grand Chord line, and of putting 
in additional branch lines as feeders to the 
main line ; reviewed the position in regard to 
the opening of the Kidderpore Docks, and 
dealt with numerous other important issues 
under consideration at the time. This visit 
of the Chairman to India was in fact attend- 
ed with far reaching results, but above all, it 
gave the Government of India, the servants 
of the Railway Company, and the public 
who were its constituents, a very clear indi- 
cation of what his future policy would be. It 
was at once recognised that a new regime had 
set in, and that, as General Strachey remarked 
at the time, '* with the advance of knowledge 
and experience many changes had become 
desirable which should not be deferred." 



138 HISTORY OF THK B. I. RAILWAY. 

In 1889, the Head-Quarters of the Traffic 
Department were at Jamalpur, an out-of-the- 
way station on the loop line, where for 
months together a merchant was never seen. 
One of the first acts of the Home Board, 
after the appointment of General Strachey 
as Chairman, was to direct that the Traffic 
Manager should make Calcutta his future 
Head-Quarters, so that he might " be more 
in touch with the merchants and traders of 
Calcutta than is now possible, distant, as he 
is, some 300 miles from the port." The 
move was not a popular one with the Traffic 
Department, and many arguments were 
advanced against it, but the wisdom of 
the change soon became apparent and was 
naturally insisted upon. One can hardly 
conceive now how the traffic business 
of the undertaking could be managed 
from any other place than Calcutta, where 
the Head of the Department is not only in 
constant touch with the mercantile com- 
munity, but is in the same building as the 
Agent, the Chief Engineer, the Chief Auditor 
and other officials of the Company, and of the 
Government, thus effecting a great economy 
in time and correspondence. 

It was in 1889 that the enormous possi- 
bilities of a development of the coal trade 
first attracted serious attention. Steamer 
companies trading to the East were begin- 
ning to realize the advantage of utilising 
local sources of supply, instead of importing 



REPKKBSNTATIOMS KKGAKDIMG THE COAL TARIFF. 139 

Welsh coal to Indian ports ; the rapid 
extension of Indian railways opened up a 
growing field for the consumption of Bengal 
coal, while mills and factories realized that 
their requirements were only limited by the 
excessive railway freight charged. 

The British India Steam Navigation 
Company, having large interests in sea- 
going steamers, represented that they were 
anxious to establish, at several ports, 
dep6ts of Bengal coal, in replacement of 
the Welsh coal they had previously used. 
The Government was anxious to secure 
more favourable rat^s for the carriage of 
coal for the consumption of State railways, 
and, in fact, claimed that all such coal should 
be charged at the minimum permissible 
rate. Simultaneously with this, the mill- 
owners of Cawnpore were agitating for 
better terms for the transport of their coal, 
while other influential people were advocat- 
ing the expediency of reducing the rates on 
the cheaper classes of fuel, in view of the 
probable development of brick burning. Cer- 
tain concessions were at once made, a rebate 
of 16 per cent, on the then tariff was 
granted on exported coal, and a rebate of 
10 per cent, on rubble or slack coal. But 
General Strachey recognised that it was no 
time for half measures : it was evident to 
him that the whole question would have to 
be very carefully considered, and his policy 
became clear, when, during his visit, he 



140 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

declined to agree with the Government claim 
that coal for the use of State Railways should 
be carried at a lower rate than coal for other 
railways, or, in fact, that there should be 
any differentiation between rates allowed to 
any particular class of consumers. 

This question of coal rates was indeed 
one of the most important subjects raised 
during the Chairman's visit to India, and, 
although no immediate settlement was then 
come to, beyond the settlement of certain 
general principles, still the basis was laid 
for the consideration of the coal tariff as a 
whole, and this, coupled with the projected 
opening up of the Jherriah coalfield, and of 
the Kidderpore Docks, laid the foundation 
for the enormous traffic since developed. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Grand Chord Line. 

The question of constructing what is 
known as the Grand Chord Line, long ad- 
vocated by Mr. Crawford, was one of the 
subjects put before General Strachey during 
his visit to India. The Grand Chord Line 
had first been surveyed in 1850, with the 
idea of constructing the original main line by 
that route, it being the more direct way 
to the North- West ; but the Government of 
the day preferred, and no doubt wisely 
preferred, the somewhat more circuitous 
Loop Line route, which tapped the great 
cities and trade centres along the banks of 
the River Ganges. Mr. Crawford in 1886 
reopened the question of constructing the 
Grand Chord, on the ground that it would 
not only form a relief to the growing 
traffic of the mainline, but would consolidate 
the great railway system of the Gangetic 
Valley. Without going into the earlier 
history of the project it is enough to say 
here that, before the arrival of General 
Strachey, the country had been re-surveyed 
by Mr. Parker, one of the Company's 
Engineers, and that estimates of the cost 
of construction had been prepared, which 



142 HISTORY OF THR R. I. RAILWAY. 

included a branch to the Palamow coal-field 
and a branch into Jherriah, though it was 
admitted that the precise location of the 
different lines comprising the scheme might 
eventually be altered and improved. General 
Strachey directed that the estimates should 
be placed before the Government of India, 
with an offer to construct both the Grand 
Chord Line and the branches referred to as 
part of the undertaking. This was in the 
early part of 1890. 

Years passed and nothing could be done 
owing to the impossibility of obtaining the 
requisite funds, but at last, in 1895, the 
Government authorised part of the work 
being begun, under certain specified condi- 
tions, which the Board accepted. In the 
meantime, as detailed elsewhere, there 
had been considerable discussion as to the 
agency through which the Grand Chord 
Line should be constructed, and it was a 
subject for congratulation that the just 
claims of the East Indian Railway were 
not passed over. General Strachey in 
advising the shareholders of the decision 
remarked : ''I need not therefore dwell on 
this subject beyond expressing my satisfac- 
tion that the question, as to the Company 
being eventually placed in a position to carry 
out the Grand Chord Line, is now virtually 
settled and that no further controversy 
regarding it will be possible. I may, however, 
take the opportunity of adding that the 



KFFKCT OF OPKNING THE GRAND CHORD. 143 

Board, and I feel sure you will all agree 
with them, while, consistently holding the 
opinion that the Company was fairly entitled 
to construct the Grand Chord Line, as a part 
of the undertaking of the East Indian Rail- 
way, when circumstances were held to be 
ripe for it and that its eventual construction 
was inevitable, as it offered the shortest 
possible route between the Upper Provinces 
and Calcutta, yet have never made objections 
to opening up a fresh route giving access to 
Calcutta." 

The first portion of the line to be con- 
structed was the section from Gya to Moghal- 
sarai, including the important bridge over 
the Soane River at Dehree and the branch 
to the Palamow coal-fields. After this 
portion had been opened for traffic, the 
Government accorded sanction to the con- 
struction of the remaining portion, between 
Gya and the Barrakur branch ; this latter 
section, which involves very heavy work 
through a hilly country, is now nearing 
completion and should be opened for traffic 
before the close of 1906. 

The construction of the Grand Chord Line 
will shorten the distance between the Upper 
Provinces of India and Calcutta by 50 miles 
and will bring the Jherriah coal-fields much 
nearer to these Provinces. Its opening will 
not only cheapen coal in Upper India, 
but will involve a reduction in the charges 
for transport of a considerable proportion 



144 HISTORY OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

of the traffic now carried to and from sta- 
tions above Moghalsarai. How far such 
reduction in charge will be followed by 
increased traffic remains to be seen, but 
there is little doubt that the opening of a 
shorter route will be of some benefit to 
the port of Calcutta in its competition with 
Bombay^and although, judging by the nature 
of the country traversed by a considerable 
portion of the new line, it is doubtful 
whether its local traffic will prove more than 
nominal, there is no reason to look forward 
to the result with any anxiety. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The Jhbrriah Coal-field. 

As early as 1886 proposals were made by 
the Railway Company to construct a bridge 
across the river at Barrakur, and to extend 
the branch line, which then terminated at 
that station, to the collieries on the other 
side. In other words the Company had long 
recognised that a bridge over the Barrakur 
River was the key to the Jherriah field. 

Some time before General Strachey visited 
India in 1899, Mr. Ward, Manager of the 
Company's Collieries, had made a preliminary 
survey of this coal-field, which lay still 
farther inland than the collieries immediately 
beyond the Barrakur River, which the railway 
first intended to serve. The results of this 
survey were thought sufficiently satisfactory 
to induce the Chairman, during his stay in 
India, to solicit the approval of the Govern- 
ment of India to the sinking of trial pits to 
test the quality of the coal ; while the ques- 
tion of extending the Barrakur branch line 
into Jherriah was at the same time mooted. 

In 1890 a further report on the Jherriah 
field was submitted by Mr. Ward. This re- 
port established beyond question that the 
area surveyed contained a coal-field of very 

H, BIR \^ 



146 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

great extent, both in respect to the quality 
of coal and its value. 

Estimates and plans of a projected line of 
railway from Barrakur Station to the Jher- 
riah coal-field, a distance of about 36 miles, 
were prepared, and the Board sanctioned 
the estimates subject to the confirmation of 
the Government of India. With a view to 
expediting matters the Board also addressed 
the Secretary of State, pointing out that 
the expediency of constructing an extension 
across the river at Barrakur had first been 
suggested some years previously, that the 
Directors were satisfied that it was desirable, 
but that hitherto they had been unable to 
obtain the assent of the Government of 
India; that further enquiry had confirmed 
their previous views, and had shewn the 
expediency of giving a somewhat greater 
extension to the line than at first contem- 
plated. 

The Board, not having been able to obtain 
consent to the original proposal, appear to 
have anticipated further delay in obtaining 
Government sanction to the larger scheme, 
and therefore adopted every means in their 
power to convince the Secretary of State of 
the desirability of constructing the extension 
without loss of time. In their letter they 
not only pointed out that there were good 
grounds for believing that the projected 
Ime would prove remunerative at an early 
period, but referred again to their general 



GOVBRNMBNT SANCTION THB JHBRRIAH BRANCH. 147 

policy in regard to the coal traffic in the 
following terms : — 

** As Lord Oro88 is aware, the £oard have recently, with 
his Lordship's assent, made important reductions in the 
coal tariff, with a view to doing all that was within their 
power to develop and assist tbis important industry, and 
they think it is no more than reasonable to look forward, 
if proper facilities are provided, to the possible future deve- 
lopment of a large export trade of coal from Calcutta, the 
commercial value of which, if successful, it would not be 
easy to exaggerate With this in view they will concinue to 
do all in their power to extend and facilitate the economi- 
cal working of the Bengal coal-fields, and they regard the 
present project as likely to be highly advantageous to the 
community generally." 

After some delay the Secretary of State 
approved of the construction of the Jherriah 
extension; in 1892 the Government of 
India sanctioned the work, and it was at once 
started. On the 20th May 1894 trains be- 
gan running as far as Ghootrya, some seven 
miles beyond Barrakur, the first train carry- 
ing 100 tons of coal and 50 passengers ! 

From such small beginnings do greatthings 
come when enterprise is guided by intelligent 
foresight. In less than three years the 
wisdom of the policy of the Railway Company 
was fully established, for by 1897 the collier- 
ies on the Jherriah and Toposi branch lines, 
the latter having been extended at the same 
time as the Jherriah branch, were contri- 
buting not far from a million tons a year to 
the traffic of the undertaking. It must not 
be thought that there was no real difficulty 
in obtaining sanction to the construction 
work proposed by the Company ; on the 



148 HISTORY OF THE K. I. KAILWAT. 

contrary Government opinion for some 
time appeared opposed to expenditure, on 
what some of its responsible officers thought 
might prove an unprofitable undertaking. 
A certain Consulting Engineer to Grovern- 
ment, whose opinions ordinarily carried great 
weight, held the view that the Jherriah 
branch would never pay, and that it was not 
wanted, but General Strachey persisted 
when others might have given way in de- 
spair. At a meeting of the shareholders in 
1891, he publicly urged his case, sajdng : — 

**It is a subject of continued regret and disappointment 
that the Government still withholds its decision as to the 
proposals of the Board for constructing the branch line 
from Barrakur to the Jherriah coal-field. The position 
of the Company under its contract with the Secretary 
of State, in respect to the provision of additional 
Capital, has unquestionably had a most unfortunate effect 
in crippling the Board in its attempts to carry out exten- 
sions of the undertaking, and the responsibility for any 
failure in this direction does not rest with them. It is not 
easy to understand how the Indian Government, which 
constantly professes its anxiety for the extension of rail- 
ways, when it can be shown that they are likely to be 
profitable and can be undertaken without adding to the 
burdens on the State, is able to reconcile such professions 
with its passive resistance to the Board's proposals, or how 
it can appropriate the enormous profits made from the 
East Indian Railway, without an apparent thought of the 
claims of districts tnat have provided these large sums, to 
obtain extensions and amelioration of their means of 
communication, in carrying out which the Board is not 
only ready but most anxious to participate." 

It must be remembered that in these days 
there was little or no public opinion to 
support Greneral Strachey ; the Jherriah 
coal-field was known only to a few; the land 



THB BBNOAL-NAGPUR RT. IN JHBRRIAH. 149 

was all in the hands of natives, who had no 
idea of its value, and in fact, but for the 
ooal beneath it, it had no value. It was 
merely a bare uncultivated waste, the true 
value of which was quite unsuspected. 

But as soon as the East Indian Railway 
constructed a line into the centre of the 
field, Coal Companies were formed, sidings 
applied for faster than they could be put 
in, and a rush of traffic came which was 
so sudden that it was almost beyond the 
power of the railway to carry it. The 
consequence was that the railway, while 
making the most strenuous eflPbrts to provide 
additional facilities, was blamed instead of 
thanked, and the public, thinking no doubt 
that competition would lead to further reduc- 
tions in rates, clamoured for the admission 
to the field of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway. 
The Government allowed this other line in, 
to compete for the traffic of the Jherriah 
collieries, created by the enterprise of the 
East Indian Railway alone. But after this 
was accomplished the Bengal-Nagpur Rail- 
way found that it could not compete for 
the important Calcutta traffic because of 
its longer lead to that port, and because 
of the fact that the Government would not 
allow it to quote rates for the traffic below 
the sanctioned minimum, such rates being 
necessary to equalize with the low charges 
made, before its entry, by the East Indian 
Railway. So far as the Government, the 



150 HI8T0BT OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

Bengal-Nagpur Railway and the public 
were concerned, the entry of this line into 
the Jherriah coal-field was more or less a fiasco 
and matters were at a dead-lock, when the 
East Indian Railway Company, following its 
usual liberal policy, came to tne rescue, and 
induced the Government to allow the Ben- 
gal-Nagpur Railwai^ to quote equal rates 
with it, and so participate in a share of the 
Calcutta traffic, which undoubtedly belonged 
to them alone. 

Such in brief is the history of the Jherriah 
coal-field, and a few figures of the traffic 
derived from it will suffice to prove its great 
importance. 

• • • • ♦ 

Coal Traffic from Jhbrriah Branch. 

Tons. 
1894 ... 38,831 

1899 ... 1,310,397 

1905 ... 2,827,726 



CHAPTER XV. 
Coal Rates. 

It will be remembered that in 1889 the 
Government of India claimed that coal, car- 
ried by the East Indian Railway Company, 
for the use of State Railways, should be 
charged at a uniform rate of 1-1 0th pie per 
maund per mile, and when General Strachey 
visited India this claim was very fully inves- 
tigated by him. He examined the subject 
from a statistical point of view, and proved 
that there were very grave misconceptions 
as to the cost of carrying traffic by railway, 
and that the actual cost of transport, so far 
from being as low as i^th pie per maund 
per mile was then really about half-way 
between ^th and ^th pie. 

But while this was his estimate of the 
average cost of carriage of all classes of goods. 
General Strachey recognised that the trans- 
port of coal justified the demand for a lower 
rate than the average and proposed a scale, 
varying according to distance, of ^rd to ^th 
pie per maund per mile, with a rebate of 5 
per cent on the total freight charges, when- 
ever more than 1^ lakh of maunds were 
carried in any half-year. General Strachey, 
in making tins proposal, firmly deprecated 



152 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

the Goverment suggestion that State Rail- 
ways should be charged a lower rate than 
others. To quote his own words : " there is 
no sufficient ground for treating railways 
worked by State Agency differently from 
those worked by Companies." 

Such was the position in the beginning of 
1890, and it did not take long for the Govern- 
ment to recognise the soundness of the 
arguments put forward. The claim to the 
^th pie rate was given up, and it was 
admitted that all railways, whether State or 
otherwise, should be treated alike. But 
during the discussion further developments 
arose, and the outcome was that the whole 
question of the coal tariff was placed before 
General Strachey, as Chairman of the East 
Indian Railway, and General Williams, then 
Deputy Government Director for Indian 
Guaranteed Railways. 

These two jointly drew up a scale of 
charges, and recommended that they should 
apply to all customers alike, whether railway 
administrations in the hands of the Govern- 
ment, or Companies, manufacturing firms or 
exporters or other traders, and the Secretary 
of State, having accepted them, requested 
the Goverment of India to take the necessary 
steps to put them in force as early as possible. 

^Briefly stated the proposed tariff was as 
follows : — 

(a) For all stations up to 400 miles 0*15 pie per maund 
per mile. 



INTRODUCTION OF RBDUCBD GOAL TARIFF. 153 

(6) For all stations over 400 miles, for the first 400 
miles according to clause (a), for distances in excess 
0*10 pie per maund per mile. 

These rates were subject to a scale of 
rebates for large consignments, and certain 
rules were detailed as to routing and so forth. 
In accepting them the Board of Directors of 
the East Indian Railway wrote to the Sec- 
retary of State, on the 4th August 1891, in 
the following terms : — 

*<The Board readily assent to the proposals in question 
and trust that the important concessions to the public in 
respect of the coal tariff, which they embody, will be pro- 
ductive of much general advantage. 

'< The Board are fully impressed with the great importance 
to all Indian interests of increasing the facilities for the 
supply of cheap coal, and they look forward with much 
hopefulness to tne early establishment of an export traffic of 
coal from Calcutta, the value of which it would be almost 
impossible to exaggerate, not only as regards the coal owners, 
but to all Indian industries, and they trust that their 
endeavours to realize such a result may receive the support 
of the Secretary of State and the Grovernment of India. 

'* It will be the desire of the Board to carry out to the 
fullest extent, that experience may shew to be reasonable 
and practicable, the reduction in the charges for the trans- 
port of coal over the undertaking, and they quite recognise 
that the tariff, which it is now proposed to adopt, wiU be 
subject to reconsideration should this hereafter be found 
desirable." 

Thus was this all important subject settled, 
not in India but in London, not on the 
narrow lines suggested by the Government of 
India, but on the broad principle that there 
should be no diflferential treatment of the 
customers of a railway, or, in other words, that 
a rate given to one should equally apply to all. 
The general effect of the new arrangement 



154 HISTOBT OF THB E. I. RAILWAY. 

was to give a substantial redaction in the 
rates for all distances, amounting to about 
15 per cent, and this required a corresponding 
increase of traffic to maintain the revenue at 
its former level, but at the time no uneasiness 
was felt, for, as the Chairman remarked, " the 

frowth of the coal traffic leaves no room fo 
oubting the early realization of the requisite 
increase and gives reasonable ground for 
expecting still further and more satisfactory 
expansion in the future." 

That the expectations of the Home Board 
in respect to the growth of the coal traffic 
were fully realized is proved in a few words. 
In 1891 the freight earnings of the East 
Indian Railway from coal were little more 
than 63 lakhs of rupees, in the year 1896 
they had risen to over 97 lakhs, and in 1901 
to over 180 lakhs. This enormous expansion 
of traffic will be dealt with more fully in 
another chapter, suffice to say here that the 
scale of charges, drawn up by Oenerals 
1^51 Strachey and Williams in ttftt remained in 
force without material alteration for many 
years and was accepted, not only by the 
East Indian, but generally speaking by all 
the railways in India. 

Naturally, as time went on and experience 
was gained of the practical working of the 
new coal rates, certain modifications were 
found desirable, but these, whether in the 
rules or in the rates, were all in the nature 
of concessions to the trade, notably an 



FIJRTHBB BBDUCnON IN GOAL RATBS. 155 

additional rebate of 10 per cent on coal ex- 
ported by sea, together with certain other 
changes of rule introduced in 1895 ; but in 
the main the 1891 scale remained in force 
until 1902 and during this period the traffic 
developed more rapidly than the facilities 
required to deal with it could be introduced. 
As early as 1893 there was under serious 
consideration a proposal to construct a short 
branch line, from !Bally Station to a point on 
the river just below the Botanical Gardens^ 
where it was thought that a coal jetty 
equipped with mechanical loading appliances 
would greatly facilitate the export trade, but 
like the Luff Point Scheme, which followed 
many years later, the idea was abandoned, 
after it had got as far as being recommended 
to the Government. Proposals of this nature 
and proposals actually carried out, with the 
object of improving facilities for dealing with 
the general expansion of traffic, and parti- 
cularly of the coal trade, hardly come within 
the province of this chapter, and we may 
pass on to the next great change in the coal 
tariff inaugurated by General Sir Richard 
Strachey m 1902. It must not, however, 
be supposed that this last change was sud- 
denly adopted, as some have thought, as a 
protective measure, because of the entry of 
the Bengal-Nagpur Railway into the 
Jherriah field ; on the contrary, it had been 
contemplated for many years before that 
time, but various considerations necessitated 



156 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

delay ; among these we need only mention 
the shortness of wagon stock, congestion of 
traffic on the running lines and inadequate 
shipping facilities. Curing the whole period 
in which the 1891 tariff was in force the 
growth of the coal traffic was most closely 
watched, and, as early as 1896, further 
concessions were mooted, though it had not 
then been established that any grounds 
existed for reductions ; on the contrary, the 
continued expansion of the trade during the 
previous five years supported an opposite 
view, virions aspects of the question were 
discussed from time to time, but, although 
minor concessions were granted, as for 
instance the reduction in the weight required 
to be put into wagons in order to obtain the 
** full wagon" rates, any substantial modifica- 
tion of the tariff had to be deferred. As 
a matter of fact, in 1898, the Board proposed, 
to their Agent in India, certain material 
reductions in charges from the Jherriah and 
Toposi branches, in order to place the 
collieries in those fields in a better position 
than they were, compared with fields nearer 
Calcutta, but these also were deferred 
because there was a rise in the price of coal, 
and the Jherriah field, as evidenced by the 
traffic carried, was in no way hampered by 
the charges in force. Beyond this. Colonel 
Gardiner, the then Agent of the Company, 
feared that to give a large reduction to the 
Jherriah coal-field, except as a part of a 



THB 1902 SCALE. 157 

complete scheme, would raise an outcry 
from collieries lower down the line. 

In June 1902, however, the Board of 
Directors revealed a complete scheme of 
revision, and in doing so pointed out that 
they had had the question before them since 
1898, remarking that ** until now circum- 
stances have not admitted of action being 
taken in the direction contemplated." The 
tariff introduced in 1891 was reviewed, and 
it was shewn that, with the modifications 
from time to time introduced, it had been 
consistent with a great development of the 
trade. The rebate system was commented 
upon, and the opinion expressed that, so far 
as the ordinary coal traffic was concerned, 
it was not necessary or convenient and 
should not be perpetuated. Its abolition 
would benefit small consignors. But, for a 
variety of reasons, the special treatment of 
export coal was held to be established and a 
special rebate on such coal would therefore 
be continued. 

The Board's proposal was to introduce the 
following tariff for coal in full wagon loads : — 

For distances up to 76 miles 

inclusive ... 014 pie per maund per mile. 

Plus for any distance in excess 

of 76 miles and up to 200 

miles inclusive ..• O'lS „ „ „ 

Plus for any distance in excess 

of 800 miles and up to 450 

miles inclusive ... 0*10 „ „ „ 

Plus for any distance in excess 

of 460 miles and up to 1,000 

miles inclusive ... 0*09 ,, ,, „ 



158 HISTOBT OF THB B. I. BAILWAY. 

A rebate of 20 per cent to be allowed on all 
coal exported, no other rebates being allowed. 

These proposals were at once adopted, 
although it was estimated that the reduc- 
tions involved a sacrifice of about 20 lakhs 
of rupees per annum. The benefit to the 
trade was as fairly distributed as possible 
to all consumers ; great encouragement was 
^iven to long lead traffic and to the export 
trade, while in no case did the withdrawal of 
rebate on inland traffic cause hardship. On 
the contrary each consignor got the equiva- 
lent or more at the time of despatch, instead 
of several months afterwards, and the incon- 
venience of calculating rebate dues was at 
once put an end to. 

The nicety of the calculations involved in 
introducing this revision of the coal tariflF, 
its completeness and general suitability were 
entirely due to General Sir Richard Strachey, 
by whose hand the scheme was drawn up, 
and it seems evident from the trial already 
given to it that this tariflF has proved an un- 
doubted success. 

In his address to the shareholders on the 
traffic of the first half of 1903, Sir Richard 
Strachey referred to this matter in the 
following terms : — 

*' I may be excused for taking this opportunity for for- 
mally repudiating the suggestion, recently made by the 
Agent of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway Company, that the 
introduction of the new coal tariff on the East Indian 
Railway last year was designed to prejudice the development 
of the coal traffic of the Bengal-Nagpur line. The sugges- 
tion appears to me to be so absurd on the face of it as 



WAGON STOCK AND FURTHER RKDUOTIONS. 159 

hardly to have called for notice, but the boldness of attri- 
buting to the Board of this Ck)mpany, the deliberate 
intention of sacrificing, for such an object, receipts amount- 
ing to some 20 lakhs of rupees in the year, is such, that 
persons having no knowledge of the facts might not 
unreasonably suppose that the suggestion could not have 
been made, unless it were based on some ground of fact. 
I therefore have thought it right to refer to Uie matter. The 
revised tariff, which was adopted with the objects I have 
mentioned, had the approval of the (Government of India. 
The correspondence nas been recently published in India, 
and will show that there was no sort of foundation for the 
imputation to which I have referred, which was put forward 
as evidence in relation to the project for establishing an 
export coaling station on the Hooghly, below Calcutta, with 
the merits of which, the motives that led to the reduced 
charges for transport on the East Indian Bail way, could 
have no possible connection " 

Recently a fiirther scheme of reduced rates 
for coal has come under consideration, but it 
is hoped that before it is generally introduced 
the question of wagon stock, in which to carry 
any large accession of traffic, will not be lost 
sight of. If the rates are reduced before the 
railways are ready with a considerable increase 
to their facilities, there will be no benefit to 
the trade but rather the reverse. At the 
present time more wagons are in coal than in 
all the rest of the traffic of the East Indian 
Railway put together, that is to say, more 
wagons are loaded every day in the colliery 
district alone, than in all the other districts 
of the line taken together, and yet the rail- 
way is short of requirements. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Growth of the Coal Traffic. 

Nothing in the history of the East Indian 
Railway has been more remarkable than the 
growth of the coal traffic during the past 
15 years. Up to the year 1889 few had 
recognised its immense possibilities, and 
there was certainly no idea of a great export 
trade setting in, while internal requirements 
were comparatively small and restricted 
almost entirely to the needs of railways. 
There seems to have been at the outset a 
good deal of prejudice on the part of those 
who had previously burnt Welsh coal, and 
particularly on the part of the engineers of 
the larger steamship companies, against the 
introduction of Bengal coal in its place ; 
these prejudices were only overcome by 
degrees, but once a start had been made the 
import of coal from the United Kingdom 
was doomed. In the first half of the year 
1885, more than 45,000 tons of Welsh coal 
were imported into Calcutta, during the first 
half of 1889 the quantity imported dropped 
to less than 1,000 tons, and an export trade 
then started, principally in bunker coal for 
the use of the steamers of the British India 
Steam Navigation Company, which extended 



FACILITIBS KEEDBD FOR GBOWIKG TRAFFIC 161 

even more rapidly than the most sanguine 
antici|)ated. In 1890 the growth of the 
export of Bengal coal from Calcutta first 
attracted serious attention, though in pro- 
portion to the total downwards traffic the 
export figures were still comparatively small. 
Rangoon was the port which at first took 
the largest quantity ; Bombay, which is now 
the largest taker of Bengal coal, adhering 
very largely to the Welsh product untu 
some years afterwards. 

In 1891 the want of facilities for dealing 
with a large coal traffic were recognised. 
The Traffic Manager, Mr. J. Rutherford, 
commenting on the expansion which would 
follow the opening up of numerous mines in 
the coalfields adjacent to Asansol and Sita- 
rampur and of the Jherriah field, an exten- 
sion to which was then about to be started, 
remarked that " we have neither the wagon 
stock nor the terminal accommodation re- 
quired for such an accession to our traffic," 
and strongly advocated the construction by 
the Railway Company of special jetties and 
loading machinery at a point on the river 
below the Botanical Gardens, to which he 
proposed a short branch line should be run 
from Bally Station, a few miles above the 
Howrah terminus. The upwards coal traffic 
was also growing, the diflterent railways in 
the North- West, Oudh and Punjab were 
consuming more, though the use of coal for 
domestic purposes was nominal, and in places 

H, BIR II 



162 HISTORY OF THE B. !• RAILWAY. 

like Cawnpore, which was rapidly becoming 
the internal centre of commercial enterprise, 
wood was still burnt extensively in preference. 
In the year 1893 the export trad^ from 
Calcutta had grown to about 250,000 tons, 
and towards the close of the year, the 
Kidderpore Docks, constructed for the 
receipt of ordinary merchandise, were first 
brought into use for loading export cargoes 
of Coal. It was, however, anticipated that 
the docks would not at all meet the require- 
ments of the trade, and that if the rapidly 
growing business was to be dealt with there, 
considerable additions would be needed, 
while the railway approaches would also 
have to be improved. The opening of the 
docks to export coal traffic at once brought 
the Jubilee Bridge over the Hooghly into 
use ; previous to this time it had been more 
or less a white elephant, for very little 
business of any kind had been done at the 
docks. In the second half of 1892 about 
189,000 tons of all classes of traffic were 
carried over the bridge, in the second half of 
1893 the weight rose to 345,000 tons, of 
which two-thirds were coal. In 1894 there 
was a still further advance in the export coal 
trade, and Greneral Sir Richard Strachey 
forecast, in an address to the shareholders of 
the Company, what the future was likely to 
be : " There is no possible reason," he 
remarked, " why the whole of the coal now 
exported from England, whether required 



DIFFIGULTIBS IN WORKING. 163 

on land, or for consumption at sea east of 
Aden, should not be replaced by Indian 
coal." 

By 1895 the Toposi and Jherriah colliery 
branches were partially opened and imme- 
diately there followed a great accession 
of traffic, new mines were opened out in all 
directions and it became a difficulty for the 
engineers to keep pace with the demands 
for sidings to the different collieries. From 
this time onward the coal traffic increased 
by leaps and bounds, and it was in the export 
trade that the increase was most noticeable ; 
in 1891 the export trade of Calcutta 
amounted to 137,000 tons, in 1896 it had 
risen to 574,000 tons, in 1901 to 1,995,000 
tons, and in 1905 to 2,767,000 tons. It 
would be tedious to attempt to traverse the 
great difficulties in working a traffic which 
had expanded so suddenly ; the shortness of 
stock, the inadequate terminal facilities, the 
congestion on the line owing to the want of 
engine power and of proper marshalling 
yards and so forth had all to be overcome, 
and nothing could be done sufficiently 
quickly to materially ease the position. 
Many schemes were put forward, many 
proposals discussed, and throughout the 
time of greatest trial, the Home Board 
not only gave strong support to the efforts 
of the staff m India, but continuously pressed 
on the Gk)vernment the crying need for more 
wagons, more sidings, better facilities and so 



164 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

forth, but relief was only too tardily granted 
in some cases and declined altogether in 
others. Addressing the shareholders in 
June 1897, General Sir Richard Strachey 
said : — 

" There can be little doubt that the Bengal coal trade has 
a great future before it, and that its increasing requirements 
will demand constant attention and a further considerable 
development of the means of transport and facilities for 
shipping for export. I cannot think that the export of coal 
on a large scale, and I would remind you that it nas already 
risen to more than half a million of tons in the half-year, 
can be conveniently or economically carried on from docks 
designed to meet the requirements of the ordinary export and 
import trade of a commercial centre like Calcutta. It is there- 
fore in my opinion a matter of regret that a more comprehen- 
sive view of this question has not been taken and that 
arrangements have not been made, as was proposed by the 
Board some years a^o, for establishing a system of coal ex- 
port, more closely following what experience, on a very large 
scale in this country, has shown to be best suited for this 
special class of business. The wisdom of the policy of ex- 
tending the coal lines in Bengal, to which the Board have been 
able to giye effect by constructing the Jherriah and Toposi 
branches, is now fully established, and the new collieries on 
them are already contributing not far from a million tons a 
year to the traffic of the undertaking.'' 

In subsequent addresses General Sir 
Richard Strachey referred, over and over 
again, to the pressing needs for better facilities 
and for more rolling stock, and over and over 
again defended the management of the rail- 
way against the not infrequent attacks of the 
mercantile community, whose complaints of 
want of wagons, or of blocks of traffic, result- 
ing, as they alleged, in loss of business, were 
at the time common. At a meeting of the 
shareholders held in December 1901, the 



RI8B IN COAL SHABES. 165 

Chairman spoke very plainly, and his words, 
which proved most prophetic, are worth 
quoting. He said : — 

**A8 the coal owners of Bengal are among the most per- 
sisteot of those who exclaim against the management 
of the East Indian Bailway, and of the want of attention 
paid to their interests, I will venture to call their attention 
to the following statement of the present value of the coal 

Eroperties in Bengal, properties that, as I have already said, 
ave been entirely created by the initiative of the railway, 
and the continued prosperity of which has been ensured by 
equally constant attention to their requirements. The ex- 
tremely low rates at which coal has been carried on all 
Indian railways for the last ten years is also due to the ac- 
tion of the East Indian Bailway ; the opening out of the 
Jherriah coalfield, which was opposed by the Government 
of India, was at last sanctioned by an appeal to the Secretary 
of State by the Board." 
Present value of shares in Bengal Coal Companies- 
Paid up Quotation. 





Rs. 


Rs. 


Adjai 


... 100 


250-255 


Bengal 


... 1,000 


3,150 


Bengai-Nagpur 


... 10 


30i 


Borrea 


... 100 


155 


Barrakur 


... 100 


125 


Equitable 


... 100 


262 


K atras- Jherriah 


... 10 


40t 


New Beerbhooro 


... 100 


179 


Reliance 


... 100 


190 



" I have no wish," he added, ** to be a prophet of evil, but 
there is an opinion afloat, which seems deserving of serious 
attention, that the very rapid development of the coal trade, 
accompanied, as it has been, by this remarkable inflation of 
vidues, may be the forerunner of a season of speculative 
mining enterprise, and of over production, in excess of the 
growing requirements of the public." 

Within a year of the time these words were 
spoken their truth became apparent, the 
output of the collieries became much larger 
than a market could be found for and share 



166 



HI8T0BY OF THB B. I. BAILWAT. 



quotations declined with a run. Fortunately 
the check was only a temporary one., and lost 
ground was soon regained. 

Nothing, however, will better illustrate the 
rapid growth of the coal traffic than the 
following brief statement, shewing the weight 
carried and the earnings during periods sepa- 
rated by five years : — 



Year. 


Total coal 
traffic. 


Up. 


Down. 


Exported. 


Total earn, 
ings. 


1889 .. 

1894 ... 
1899 ... 
1906 .. 


Tons. 

1.404.711 

2.144.382 
3,897.596 
6,142.264 


Tons. 

303,910 

466,768 

a%,644 

1,260,740 


Tons. 

1,100,801 

1,677.614 
3,267.052 
4.881,624 


Tons. 

not avail- 
able. 
297,000 
1.136.000 
2,767.000 


Rs. 

64,26,925 

79,61,472 
135,29,686 
202,44,250 



These figures speak for themselves, and 
call for no comment beyond the remark that 
they are an eloquent testimony to the part 
played by the East Indian Railway Com- 
pany. In thf^ early days of development allu- 
sion was often made to the undertaking 
having what was termed a monopoly of the 
transport, and it was clearly intimated that 
such a monopoly was prejudicial to develop- 
ment. The Board of Directors naturally took 
exception to such views, unsupported as they 
were by facts, and in 1894 expressed their 
opinion very clearly in the following words : — 

" A monopoly that is used to keep up prices to the detri- 
ment of trade cannot be too strongly deprecated, but such a 
necessary monopoly as that enjoyed by the East Indian 



PROSPBBITY OF THK COAL TRADB. 167 

Bailway, in respect of the traffic over its own liiie, conducted 
on the principle of reducing the rates to a miuimum and of 
working in the most economical manner, is a positive advan- 
tage to the public, and to destroy it by introducing any 
intermediate agency, which could only lead to additional 
unnecessary expenditure would be an act of folly The condi- 
tions under which the traffic of the East Indian Railway is 
conducted render excessive charges impossible, and the well- 
known facts of the case clearly shew that the Board have 
made very important reductions of charge, which may reason- 
ably be taken to indicate that their policy is a liberal one and 
that they intend to persevere in it so far as they are able." 

**The Board have seen with much satisfaction that the 
downward coal traffic has responded in a very marked man- 
ner to the reductions already made in the tariff. It is 
their firm conviction that, by judicious arrangements, the 
traffic may be brought into a condition that will admit of 
further important reductions of charge, and, unless obstacles 
are put in their way, they look forward to practical eflfect 
being given to this anticipation." 

The point of these remarks seems to be 
that, whatever detractors may say, there is 
no getting over the fact that the interests of 
the Railway Company and of the trade are 
identical ; and that the Railway Company 
has done all in its power to foster and 
develop the coal traffic of Bengal is clearly 
proved by results. During the past six 
years the raisings of Bengal coal have 
increased from four to seven million tons 
annually and the trade generally has never 
been so prosperous as at the present time. 
But it is not only by reducing rates, and by 
opening up the coalfields adjacent to its 
main Tine, in the Asansol and Barrakur 
Districts, that the East Indian Railway 
Company has assisted in developing the 
great traffic it now carries. There was still 



168 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

another field within its territory, namely the 
Daltonganj field in the Sasseram District, 
1 50 miles nearer the north-west than the 
coalfields of Bengal proper. This field was 
also opened up by the East Indian Railway 
Company and now form^ an additional source 
of supply. Although it has not, so far, 
proved of any great value, still its opening 
goes to prove that the Company has at heart 
the interests of the public. 

For some years the coal traffic has been 
of such importance to the East Indian Kail- 
way that an annual report on its principal 
features is submitted to the Home Board. 
It need only be added that in every direction 
eflForts are made to comply, as fully as possi- 
ble, with the wishes of the coal owners for 
modifications of the traffic arrangements 
that they regard as likely to be beneficial, 
but difficulties in the way can only be 
overcome by degrees, however willing the 
management may be to carry them through. 



CHAPTER XVIL 

Thb Kidderpore Docks. 

At the time that General Strachey was 
appointed Chairman of the East Indian Rail- 
way Company, the Kidderpore Docks were 
being constructed and there was much 
discussion as to the rates that would be 
charged on traffic booked to and from the 
new terminus. 

The Jubilee Bridge across the Hooghly 
River had been opened for traffic a short time 
before, and trains were running over it as 
far as the Chitpore and Sealdah termini 
of the Eastern Bengal Railway in Calcutta, 
a provisional arrangement having been come 
to, under which traffic carried to these 
stations should be charged the same as if 
carried to the East Indian Railway terminus 
of Howrah and vice versa. 

It was agreed that no compulsion should 
be used to force ships into the docks, and 
therefore all facilities at Howrah, which in 
the course of years had become the estab- 
lished centre for the receipt and despatch of 
merchandise, had to be preserved intact. 
Beyond this the East Indian Railway was 
saddled with the interest on the cost of the 
Jubilee Bridge, for which until then it had 



170 HISTORY OF THK B. I. RAILWAY. 

received practically no compensation, while 
extensive alterations and additions had 
become necessary at Hooghly Junction, in 
order to enable the railway to make up full 
train loads for the termini on the Calcutta 
side of the river. Therefore the question of 
the rates to be charged on traffic hauled by 
East Indian Railway trains to the Kidder- 
pore Docks was an important one. 

The Government of India held the opinion 
that " there should not be any diflFerence in 
freight charges on up-country through goods 
consigned to or from Calcutta, whetiier they 
are dealt with at Howrah or at Kidderpore", 
but the Eastern Bengal Railway Company, 
over which the trains had to be hauled to 
the docks, claimed a rate of two rupees per 
train mile on every East Indian Railway 
train passing Naihati Junction, and the 
Board could not see their way to paying so 
excessive a rate and at the same time mak- 
ing no additional charge to the public. 

The Board, however, wished to do all in 
their power to assist the trade of the port, 
and therefore proposed to the Government 
that if for East Indian Railway trains run- 
ning to Sealdah, Chitpore or the Kidderpore 
Docks the Eastern Bengal Railway Com- 
pany would accept one rupee per train mile 
on the actual distance run, they on their 
part would be prepared to charge the public 
the same rate to any of these places as to 
Howrah. 



TRAFFIC DEALT WITH AT THE DOCKS. 171 

Finally, a compromise was arrived at, the 
Eastern JBengal Railway Company agreed 
to reduce the train mile rate of two rupees 
on trains run to Chitpore and Sealdah to one 
rupee eight annas, and to accept a rate of 
twelve annas per train mile on trains run to 
the docks, charges to the public being the 
same in all cases as the charge on traffic 
for Howrah, and this arrangement, being 
agreed to by the East Indian Railway, 
has remained in force to the present 
day. 

So much for the question of rates. The 
docks had been constructed mainly for the 
grain and seed traffic ; there was no idea of 
coal being dealt with there ; no idea, in fact, 
that an export coal trade would ever set in ; 
but almost from the day of opening the coal 
trade forced itself upon the docks. Coal haa 
now become the principal traffic consigned 
there. Coal berths have been constructed 
and added to, but still the accommoda- 
tion is barely sufficient for the requirements, 
of the trade and more additions are con- 
templated. It is only in recent seasons, 
however, that the grain and seed traffic 
has gone to the docks ; for many years 
the sheds constructed to deal with this 
traffic lay empty and idle, the merchants 
preferring to work at Howrah, where their 
business had so long been established. In 
1898, or several years after the docks had 
been opened for traffic, General Strachey 



172 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

addressing the shareholders said : — " No 
perceptible eflfeet has yet been produced on the 
trade arrangements of Calcutta by the par- 
tial opening of the docks, to which very few 
vessels have hitherto resorted. Difficulties 
have arisen, that had not been foreseen, in 
inducing traders to modify the practice that 
has hitherto prevailed, as to loading and 
unloading ships, when lying at their 
moorings in the river, by means of lighters, 
and these have not yet been so far overcome 
as to bring about any general movement of 
the export trade to the docks, to meet which 
all requisite preliminary arrangements have 
been made. It is, however, hardly likely 
that an alteration of system can be very 
long delayed." 

It was in 1898 that, in consequence of a 
block of wheat at Howrah, the traffic was 
for a few days diverted to the docks, only 
to block the shed accommodation there also ; 
and in 1899 the docks actually declined to 
receive grain and seeds except under restric- 
* tions, as the authorities feared a repetition 
of their experience of the previous year, a 
fear that was shared by the merchants 
who had suffered from the resulting 
confusion. 

The aversion on the part of the trade to 
utilising the accommodation at the docks 
was in no way due to the action of the East 
Indian Railway ; on the contrary the East 
Indian Railway had doive vvW \w\t^ ^ower to 



DOCKS NOT AT FIRST USBD FOB GRAIN OB 8BBDS. 173 

promote the use of the sheds available there; 
but the mercantile community did little 
to overcome diflficulties, although it was a 
matter of vital interest to them, for the 
trade of the port was burdened to provide 
means for paying the interest on the capital 
outlay and the cost of maintaining the docks, 
from which no advantage was being obtained. 
" It is certainly difficult," the Chairman had 
said in 1 893, " for any one like myself, not 
acquainted in detail with the circumstances of 
the case, not to feel surprise that the mercan- 
tile community, which would seem to be so 
greatly interested in this matter, should treat 
it with such apparent indifference." General 
Strachey repeatedly advocated measures to 
assist the trade of Calcutta, by transferring 
the bulk of the export and import work to 
the docks, but it was years before the change 
was accomplished, and then more by the force 
of circumstances than by the action of 
those most interested. And in the mean- 
time, year after year, as regularly as 
the season came round for exporting grain 
and seeds, the Howrah terminus became 
blocked and the East Indian Railway con- 

fested with traffic. For this the East 
ndian Railway management was invariably 
blamed, though it was repeatedly explained 
that the blocks of traffic were actually due to 
no fault on the part of the railway, but 
were caused by the consignees of goods 
bein^ unahle or unwilling to t«kfe ^^\n^t^ 



174 HIHTOBT OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

at Howrah, on the arrival of the wagons 
carrying the goods. In 1899 General Sir 
Richard Strachey remarked that ''notwith- 
jstanding the efforts made to attract the 
export trade from Howrah to the docks 
the bulk of it is still dealt with at Howrah, 
partly because the dock charges are in 
many cases in excess of those incurred by 
shipping with boats from Howrah, but 
mainly owing to a large number of the 
up-country traders finding the Howrah 
terminus to be more convenient, as it offers 
facilities for certain classes of export produce 
changing hands, which the conditions of the 
trade require." 

In 1901 a change came over the scene, 
only a small portion of the export produce 
passing through the docks, the Howrah 
terminus became, as usual, as full as it 
could be, and some measure of relief had to 
be decided upon. The Wheat and Seeds 
Association and the principal export firms 
were consulted, and with their assent it was 
decided to temporarily close Howrah to the 
receipt of linseed. The experiment proved 
successful, the linseed went to the docks, 
and ever since then the docks have been 
the chief centre for the export of linseed, 
while a considerable proportion of the wheat 
trade is also dealt with there. 

During the year 1897 the total traffic 
crossing the Jubilee Bridge amounted to 
2,040,686 tons ; in 1901 the figures rose to 



INCRBASBD FACILITIES AT DOCKS. 175 

3,613,451, the proportions of coal and ordi- 
nary merchandise being : — 

Coal. Ordinary merchandise. 

1897 1,682,667 458,129 

1901 2,995,600 617,861 

At the present time over 4^ million tons of 
traffic cross the Jubilee Bridge yearly, of 
which more than two million tons consist of 
coal exported from the Kidderpore Docks, 
where there are eight coal-loading berths, one 
of which is provided with a mechanical load- 
ing appliance. An increase of three more 
coaling berths is now contemplated, and, 
judging by the continued growth of the 
trade, they will not be provided at all too 
soon. In other ways also the accommoda- 
tion at the Kidderpore Docks has in recent 
years been vastly improved ; generally speak- 
ing the docks are now on a level with trade 
requirements. 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

Train Service and Working Facilities — 
The Question of Wagon Supply. 

When General Strachey visited India in 
1889 he found that the train service was 
exceedingly slow. What was described as 
the " fast train" took no less than 37^ hours 
to cover the distance of 954 miles between 
Howrah and Delhi, that is to say, it trundled 
along at a through speed of little more than 
25 miles an hour ; while consignments of 
goods occupied weeks in transit where they 
should have taken days. 

Everything in the way of progress seemed 
to have been neglected, nothing was up-to- 
date. The stations were not interlocked; 
the out-door signals and the train signalling 
apparatus were of the most primitive kind ; 
passenger carriages were illuminated with 
vegetable oil lamps, which onlyserved to make 
darkness visible, and not a single engine or 
vehicle was fitted with a vacuum brake. In 
addition to this, the conditions of working 
were risky, if not dangerous, for over the 
greater portion of the line " following trains " 
were allowed, and it was only over a com- 
paratively short section of double line that 
the "absolute block" system was in force. 



IMPROVEMENT OF TRAIN SERVICE. 177 

With such a state of affairs there was obviously 
a crying need for remedy. 

General Strachey during his stay in India 
wrote, a note on the speed of the mail trains, 
in which he drew attention to the excessive 
number of stoppages en route, and suggested a 
revised time-table. This time-table was shortly 
afterwards adopted and reduced the run of the 
mail between Sowrah and Delhi from Z7^ to 
31 J hours. At the same time he insisted 
upon an immediate revision of the goods train 
service, vnth the result that, early in 1890, a 
fast through goods train was run from Howrah 
to Cawnpore, and a very great saving effected 
in the time of transit of through booked 
goods ; but even these improvements were 
not sufficient, and as soon as the Chairman 
returned to England, the Board wrote suggest- 
ing further accelerations. Ever since then 
the Chairman has continued to devote per- 
sonal attention towards effecting improve- 
ments ; he has closely watched the running 
of trains, commenting each half-year on the 
time actually taken over the different sec- 
tions of the line, so that the staff know well 
that punctuality of the train service is con- 
sidered all important ; in addition to this 
there has been no measure towards improve- 
ment that has not had his cordial support. 

At the present time the absolute block 

system is in force throughout the entire 

length of the line ; all coaching vehicles are 

fitted with vacuum automatic brakes ; goods 

H, BiR \a» 



178 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

vehicles are being so fitted and their carrying 
capacity has been materially increased ; the 
majority of stations are either interlocked 
or are being interlocked ; the signalling has 
been greatly improved and the train service 
has been very much accelerated. The mail 
train, with a load equal to eighteen heavy 
coaches, now runs from Howrsii to Delhi in 
28|^ hours, and lighter trains have been run 
over the same distance in very little more 
than 24 hours. Such speeds would have 
been impossible even five years ago, for it 
took a long time to carry out the many 
improvements required, to enable the staff in 
India to work up to such results. 

In the meantime the difficulties to be 
contended with, whenever traffic was at all 
brisk, were enormous. Year after year the 
line below Asansol became blocked with 
trains, that could not be got through because 
the terminals were glutted with goods, and 
because there was an utter absence of proper 
facilities for dealing with the traffic that 
had grown with such rapidity. Progress 
seemed slow, but by the year 1902, such im- 
provements had been effected that an excep- 
tionally heavy traffic was carried, for the 
first time, without congestion. The General 
Traffic Manager in his report on the results 
of the working during the first half of that 
year remarked — 

" Perhaps the most satisfactory feature of the half-year's 
traffic was that even when at its highest, we were able to 



IMPROVED TRAIN LOADS. 179 

put it through without any block at Howrah or on the 
line, and without a single complaint of short wagon supplies. 
This was due to a combination of causes, notably the 
increase in upwards coal traffic, giving our wagons going up 
country for grain, a load in both directions and so minimis- 
ing delay for stock ; the linseed traffic being dealt with at 
Kidderpore Docks, from the start, instead of only being 
dealt with there when Howrah got into difficulties ; a 
comparatively small wheat traffic ; an improved supply of 
brake-vans and engines, together with other favourable 
influences, unnecessary to detail, which rendered the move- 
ment of the traffic easier than it has been for several years." 

These remarks almost read in the nature 
of an apology for the season's work being 
accomplished without any of the difficulties 
that had beset the staff in previous years, but 
the fact is that, facilities had improved, and 
their effect was for the first time showing 
itself; even under the most favourable 
circumstances the traffic could not have been 
properly dealt with unless this had been so. 
Since 1902 the line has never been blocked, 
although a still heavier traffic has been carried, 
and carried with greater expedition than 
was possible under the old method of work- 
ing. This result has not, however, been alto- 
f ether due to the better facilities provided 
ut to the increased attention given to the 
improvement of train and wagon loads. 
During the past few years the average load 
of a goods train has been greatly increased. 
In the first half of 1902 it was 20275 tons ; 
in the first half of 1903, 226-97 tons ; in the 
second half of 1903, it rose to 243 tons ; in 
the first half of 1904 to 252*58 tons; and in 
the second half of the same year to 276 tons. 



180 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

All increased train load meant fewer, but 
heavier trains, fewer engines, fewer brake- 
vans and a considerable saving in coal and 
staff; this question is only mentioned here. as 
one of the causes that have facilitated the 
passing of a heavy traflfic over the line, 
though this perhaps is the least important 
sequence of a measure that has resulted in 
most important economies. 

Spealang to the shareholders in 1903, 
General Sir Richard Strachey referred to 
the improved conditions of working in these 
terms : — 

" There is every reason to think that the improvements of 
various descriptions in the system of signalling and in 
providing for tne more expeditious movement of the traffic, 
which have been in steady progress for some years past, 
have proved their value by increased freedom from obstruc- 
tions, and facility in dealing with the traffic on the busiest 
parts of the line. Increas^ attention is bein^ given to the 
great importance of improving the train loads, l>y which it 
is anticipated that large reductions in the train mileage may 
be secured and corresponding economies, both in the cost of 
running and of the rolling stock required for the traffic 
moved'' 

A word may here be said on the question 
of wagon stock. Following the rapid 
development of traffic and particularly of the 
coal traffic which has been the most marked 
feature, in recent years, of the Company's 
administration, there have been constant 
difficulties in regard to the supply of loco- 
motives, wagons and brake-vans. Within the 
past few years the locomotive and brake-van 
difficulty has been overcome, the line is no 



WAGON STOCK. 1^1 

longer congested, whenever traffic is brisk, 
and engine or brake-van shortage is hardly, 
if ever, heard of; but still the wagon supply 
continues inadequate. At the present time 
very bitter complaints are being made, more 
especially by those interested in the coal 
trade, that stock requirements are not met in 
the way they should be. 

In the year 1900 the wagon stock of the 
East Indian Railway was under 14,000 wag- 
ons, in 1905 it was over 17,000 wagons ; in 
other words, the wagon stock has been increas- 
ed by about 24 per cent in five years. The 
weight of goods traffic, including coal, has 
increased during the same period by 21 per 
cent, yet during some period or another 
there has been shortage of stock. 

There is, certainly, a reverse side to the 
picture ; whenever traffic at all slackens hund- 
reds of wagons lie idle in sidings, and it is 
a fact that the traffic of the East Indian 
Railway fluctuates very greatly. It is doubt- 
ful whether the railway could possibly 
provide a stock equal to all demands at 
periods of highest pressure ; it is doubtful 
whether any railway in the world of like 
size has ever been able to do so. Certainly 
shortness of stock due to rushes of traffic, or 
to congestion of the line, or to block at the 
terminals or elsewhere, is not peculiar to the 
East Indian Railway. We have heard of the 
same sort of thing happening in America on 
some of the best equipped lines, and so long as 



182 HISTORY OF THB E. I. RAILWAY. 

railways exist, and have to be worked at a pro- 
fit, as indeed all commercial enterprises must 
be, shortness of stock will occasionally be felt. 
Could the traffic of the East Indian Rail- 
way be evenly distributed over every week 
of the year, we should never hear of short- 
ness of stock, but this is clearly impossible, 
and admitting that there is even occasional 
shortage, the question arises, what surplus 
should be provided in order to meet require- 
ments when traffic is above normal, for 
obviously there should be some surplus. As 
a general basis of regulating supply, it has 
been calculated that every wagon should 
carry 75,000 ton miles of traffic in half a 
year ; this means a very full use of the 
available stock. Still it has been worked to, 
and sometimes exceeded in the past, and is, 
perhaps, a sufficiently liberal allowance for 
the future. There are times, feowever, 
when an excessive number of East Indian 
Railway wagons have to be sent away with 
loads to Foreign Railways, and when Foreign 
Railway wagons are not coming to any great 
extent on to the East Indian ; at these 
times the margin of work required becomes 
too tight. There are other times when the 
nature of the traffic is such that the best 
advantage cannot be obtained from the stock 
employed ; then also there is shortage. 
Moreover, it may be admitted that a railway 
should be, within limits, ahead of require- 
ments rather than behind them, but up to 



WAGON STOCK. 183 

the present, except when working conditions 
have been most favourable, it has been diffi- 
cult to keep pace with the development and 
expansion of traffic. When we find shortage 
continuing, month after month, for long 
periods at a stretch, there is little doubt that 
the railway is short of requirements. This 
is the present position, and although additions 
are now being made to the stock, which 
should minimise difficulties, it is not likely 
that complaints of shortage will altogether 
cease. If the additions sanctioned were 
ready and on the line at the present moment 
there would not be one too many wagons. 
It is hoped that, in anticipation of continued 
growth of the traffic, regular additions to 
the wagon stock will continue to be sanction- 
ed every year, until the railway finds itself 
ahead of requirements. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Some Further Remarks on Competition 
AND Rates. 

Although the low charges at present in 
force on the East Indian Railway are mainly 
due to the liberal policy followed in volunta- 
rily reducing the rates for such items as coal, 
still it must not be forgotten that a famine 
in Bengal first directed attention to the 
possibility of carrying traffic, over long dis- 
tances, at charges which were previously con- 
sidered impossible, and that competition has 
also had its effect on the tariff. 

It has been shown that serious competition 
against the East Indian Railway began, when 
the opening of the Rajputana route to Bom- 
bay first threatened Calcutta with the diver- 
sion of the trade of the Upper Provinces. 
But the East Indian Railway has not had to 
contend with the rivalry of the Western 
lines alone ; it has also had to meet the com- 
petition of various alternative railway routes 
and of rivers, canals and roads. To talk 
therefore of the East Indian Railway having 
a monopoly of traffic shows a strange miscon- 
ception of facts. 

Before the East Indian Railway has run 
150 miles of its course from Calcutta it gets 



RIVKB COMPETITION. 185 

in touch with the River Ganges, the main 
waterway of Bengal, on which a service of 
•competing steamers is ever ready to convey 
traffic to and from the metropolis, at rates 
far below those which would be profitable to 
the railway. That the railway is able to 
compete with these steamers is mainly due to 
the speedier transit it can offer and to the fact 
that during the monsoons, when steamers 
are best able to ply, the Railway is 
generally experiencing a slack time and is in 
a position to make special concessions in 
rates. These rates, known as " monsoon 
rates," are successful in drawing to the rail 
s, share of the trade which it would other- 
wise lose, but in any case the direct effect 
is reduction. 

As to native boats, these attempt to 
<5arry all they can from any source, but while 
they take something away they also bring 
something to the rail, and therefore may be 
regarded as feeders as well as competitors. 
It was in order to enable country boats to 
bring produce to the rail direct that branch 
lines were originally constructed to all the 
more important ghstts on the river bank; and, 
on the whole, although the river has been 
the cause of many rate reductions, it is really 
one of the best friends of the railway. The 
riparian stations on the East Indian Railway 
Are among its most important. 

Before the railway gets beyond the effect of 
river competition it has to contend with the 



186 HISTORY OF THK B. I. RAILWAY. 

claims of the Western lines which are always 
trying to draw to Bombay the traffic whose 
natural port is Calcutta. This competition 
begins within 500 miles of Calcutta and 
extends over the whole length of the railway 
above, including of course the Jubbulpore 
line, where, perhaps, the East.Indian Railway 
position is weakest. 

The influence of competition is also felt 
with the Bengal-Nagpur Railway running by 
an alternative route to Kutni Station on 
the Jubbulpore branch ; with the Oudh and 
Rohilkhand Railway and connected systems 
running almost parallel, and tapping the East 
Indian at several points ; with the Bengal 
and North-Western which has gradually but 
surely extended its system on the other 
side of the River Ganges, and afiects rates 
as high up as Delhi and even beyond ; 
with the Southern Punjab and North- 
Western Railways which endeavour to draw 
traffic toKurrachee; not to mention railways 
which have been permitted to construct 
alternative routes, within the sphere of East 
Indian Railway control, such as the Agra- 
Delhi Chord and that greatest of all blunders, 
the Cawnpore-Achneyra line. It would form 
a history in itself to trace the effect of all the 
competition the East Indian Railway has to 
meet, to discuss the several agreements come 
to with foreign lines and to disentangle 
the many disagreements ; and even if this 
was done it would not be of great interest to 



FAIR COMPETITION NOT FBABED. 187 

any but traffic experts ; it would not assist 
materially in judging the main results, which 
have been an exceedingly low, if complicated, 
tariff and an ever-increasing traffic. 

The East Indian Railway has never feared 
fair competition, but there is a strong feeling 
that some restriction should be placed 
on lines which needlessly reduce charges 
at competitive points, and then, in order,appa- 
rently, to make up for the loss, retain their 
internal rates at an excessively high figure. 
The system of laying down a hard and 
fast rule for all railways, irrespective of 
the length of lead or of cost of working, in no 
way meets the case, especially when the 
absurdities of the methods resorted to on 
some systems are seen ; but these have 
become more apparent since competition 
has grown keener, and the public are now 
beginning to appreciate the facts and to 
place them before the Government. 

Speaking to the shareholders in 1891, 
General Sir Richard Strachey remarked : — 
"The East Indian Railway has no cause to 
look with anxiety or jealousy at any increase 
of railway facilities offered by other lines, the 
traffic of the undertaking rests on a thoroughly 
sound, independent basis, and only needs a 
judicious system of management and a liberal 
tariff, such as the Board desires to offer to the 
public, to ensure its continued expansion.'" 
General Sir Richard Strachey also accepts 
the view, which is undoubtedly correct, that 



188 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

"'^f there is sooie loss by the diversion of traffic 
from the East Indian Railway that, in the 
absence of other lines, it might have retained, 
it is beyond question that any such result is 
largely compensated, if not actually counter- 
balanced, by the increased traffic due to the 
opening up of communication with districts 
formerly inaccessible." At the same time, 
the Board, while recognising that the traffic 
which is directed from the North- West Pro- 
vinces towards Bombay, should be provided 
with whatever facilities it may require, 
fail to see why the East Indian Railway 
:should be left powerless to respond to reduc- 
tions because they are bound by a common 
minimum, although they can afford to carry 
st cheaper rates than any other line in India. 
If, as the Secretary of State says, " the 
advantages due either to geographical posi- 
tion or other circumstances " should furnish 
no reason for artificial restrictions, then what 
•can be said of the restriction of a minimum 
rate, when a railway can carry at a profit 
below that minimum ? 

Then again, although the Board declined 
to recognise the claim of the railways, 
•designed to carry the traffic of Central 
and Western India, to interfere in the 
•carrying trade between places like Agra 
and Delhi, which ever since the opening of 
the East Indian Railway has been exclu- 
sively in its hands, yet the Government 
of India have recently given to one of its 



THE PUBLIC AND THE RATE QUESTION. 189 

opponents the construction and working of 
the Agra-Delhi Chord. 

It is suggested that these and similar 
questions are those to which the public of 
Calcutta should direct their best attention, 
realizing that their interests are identical 
with those of the East Indian Railway. 



CHAPTER XX. 

Third Class Passengers. 

Third class passengers constitute a very 
large proportion of the coaching traffic of 
the East Indian Railway; they provide nine- 
teen-twentieths of the total passenger traffic 
and account for four-fifths of the coaching 
receipts. Recognising that the prosperity 
of the coaching traffic mainly depends upon 
its lowest class passengers, the attention 
of the Board of Directors and of the staff in 
India has always been directed towards 
measures for the development and con- 
venience of this class. 

In the year 1882, the third class fare had 
been reduced under the directions of the 
Board from 3 to '2^ pies, or to, say, one-fifth 
of a penny per mile, but the question of 
making a further reduction in the charge was, 
from the time of his appointment as Chair- 
man, constantly in the mind of General Sir 
Richard Strachey ; unfortunately there were 
considerations that necessitated delay in 
carrying out his views ; nothing could be done 
before the railway was prepared with addi- 
tional rolling-stock, and it was on this account 
alone that concessions had to be given 
cautiously. 



WANT OF STOCK DELAYS REDUCTION IN FARES. 191 

Addressing the shareholders in June 1894, 
General Sir Richard Strachey remarked : 
" The measures now being taken for provid- 
ing a substantial increase to the passenger 
vehicles will, I hope, soon admit of some 
modifications of the fares of the lowest class, 
that will extend the facilities for travelling 
to a larger proportion of the population, for 
no proposal for any reduction of these fares 
could be practically entertained until the avail- 
able rolling-stock was sufficient in quantity 
to meet a considerable increase of numbers, 
which at present is far from being the case." 
And again in December 1897 : "That there 
is still a very large field for the profitable 
development of the third class traffic is beyond 
question, but it could not be fully realized 
without a further reduction of rates, which 
the Board would not hesitate to introduce 
under suitable arrangements, one essential 
preliminary step being the construction of a 
large additional number of vehicles, without 
which it would be impossible to cope with the 
increased traffic that must be anticipated. 
The Board continue to keep this subject in 
view, and generally are increasing the faci- 
lities for travelling.'' In 1900 proposals for 
reducing the passenger fares were still under 
consideration, and in 1901 the first step was 
taken. In his Address to the shareholders 
in 1901, General Strachey said : " The Board 
have still been unable to carry out any gene- 
ral reduction of the passenger fares such as 



192 HiSTOkY OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

they would desire to adopt, from their inabiU- 
ty to provide the additional carriages, without 
which this could not be undertaken, but a 
small advance in this direction has been made 
by . reducing the rates for long distances.'^ 
In his Address in December 1904, General 
Strachey remarked in regard to the third 
class : " With a view to stimulating the chief 
branch of the traffic, the Board have taken 
steps for a further reduction of third class 
fares for distances above 100 miles, and are 
prepared to carry out further reductions when 
proper provision is made for the addition to 
the carriage stock, which, it may be presumed, 
will be necessary to meet the requirements of 
the increased traffic likely to follow the re- 
duction of fares." 

The reduction in third class fares referred to 
was, like the coal rates, based on a sliding 
scale, according to the length of journey 
made. 

For the first 100 miles the fare of 2^ pies 
per mile remained as at present, the scale 
for longer distances being, on the additional 
length travelled — 

101 to 300 miles, 2 pies per mile, 
over 300 miles, 1^ pie „ „ 

Further reductions will probably be made 
on the same basis of a sliding scale, and 
may be looked for as soon as the railway is 
better equipped with coaching stock. Up 
to the present additions to the rolling stock 



MB. BBLL'S PBOPOSBD ONB AND A HALF PIB FARK. 193 

have barely kept pace with the normal 
growth of the traffic. The East Indian 
Railway has never been ahead of require- 
ments, it has never had a margin to meet 
any large accession of passengers, and during 
times of pressure third class carriages have 
to be supplemented by goods wagons ; this 
state of affairs is most undesirable, but it is 
obvious that, unless large additions are made 
to the coaching stock, it must either continue 
or passengers DC turned away. 

Apart from the consideration of the ques- 
tion m England, in India also the third class 
Csenger hgts had constant attention. As far 
k as 1893 there was much controversy on 
a proposal made by the late Mr. Horace 
Bell, then Consulting Engineer to the 
Government of India, that a very sweeping 
reduction in the fare of the lowest class 
should be made. Mr. Bell proposed a fare 
of 1^ pie per mile, but his proposal met 
with little or no acceptance ; it was rejected 
by the Director-General of Railways, by 
the President of the Railway Conference, 
and by several managements, who all con- 
sidered it not only Utopian but impossible. 
Beyond this was tlje fact that the third 
class passenger traffic was rapidly growing 
under the tariff introduced in 1882, and that 
a 1^ pie rate tried on the Madras Railway 
had proved a failure. 

It must never be forgotten, however, that 
India is a country of poor people and that 

H, BIB \S% 



194 HISTORY OF THB R. I. RAILWAY. 

when the average wage of the population is 
considered, in relation to the fares now 
charged, it means that only about 21 miles can 
be travelled for an average day's earnings. In 
America the third class passenger can travel 
about 60 miles for a day's wage, and in 
England about 40 miles. Therefore the 
fares in India should be as low as they can 
possibly be made, and in time it is hoped that 
material reduction will be possible 

Taking periods of 5 years from 1882, the 
following figures shew the number of third 
class passengers carried and the earnings 
therefrom on the East Indian Railway 
system : — 

Year. No. Re. 

99,99,999 E. I. Proper. 
107,86,077 do. 

124,40,368 E. I. Ry. System. 
132,46,810 do. 

166,61,674 do. 

172,46,816 do. 

Besides reductions in fares charged, other 
steps have from time to time been taken 
towards improving the facilities for travelling 
in the third class. In 1897, under the direct 
orders of the Chairman, the mail trains 
were thrown open to third class passengers ; 
previous to this the main line mail trains 
below Allahabad only carried higher class pas- 
sengers, and their servants. Then again the 
type of carriage has been greatly improved, 
separate vehicles have been provided for 
women, and lavatories are a feature of 



1882 


... 9,066,963 


1887 


... 12,118,381 


1892 


... 14,662,138 


1897 


... 16,776,104 


1902 


... 19,846,498 


1905 


•.. 22,126,477 



FACILITIBS FOB THIRD CLASS FASSBNGBRS. 195 

present day stock. Beyond this, the train 
service has been greatly added to and 
accelerated, but still it is quite admitted that 
a good deal remains to be done. In 1904 
the Government of India invited railway 
servants to write essays, suggesting measures 
likely to ameliorate the concutions of travel, 
and to deal generally with the wants of 
third class passengers, showing how they 
could best be met. These essays gave food 
for thought to many railway employes, and 
several valuable suggestions were made which 
it is hoped will in time bear fruit. On the 
East Indian Railway an express train for 
lower class passengers has recently been 
introduced and is now one of the most 
popular and remunerative long distance 
trains run over the line, and it is now being 
considered whether a second similar train 
cannot be run. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Proposed Central Station in Calcutta. 

In a previous chapter reference has been 
made to a proposal, made in 1862, to bridge 
the Hooghly Uiver, as near as possible to 
Calcutta, and to construct in the metropolis 
a central terminal station, so as to form a 
more perfect connection between the rail- 
way and the capitial, and to afford the public 
a more convenient pomt for taking or leaving 
the rail. In those days there was no bridge 
of any kind across the river, and passengers 
and goods had to be boated or ferried over 
the Hooghly, to and from the railway 
station, an arrangement so inconvenient as 
to be more easily imagined than described ; 
it was then indeed a pilgrimage to get to or 
from the East Indian Railway Station at 
Howrah. 

Since then a floating road bridge has 
been constructed and it is as easy to ap- 
proach Howrah Station from say, Chowrin- 
ghi, as it is to drive from Oxford Circus to 
Waterloo. But it is not the passengers or 
goods from Chowringhi who need to be con- 
sidered ; they are in the minority, and it 
makes little difference to them whether the 
railway station is in Howrah or in Dalhousie 



A OOMMITTEB CONSIDER CENTRAL STATION SCHEME. 197 

Square or in Bow Bazaar. The mass of the 
people, the great native population of 
Calcutta, live on the North side of the city, 
and for these Howrah is just as conveniently 
situated, as it would be if the site was fixed 
in the centre of the business part of the town. 

In 1899, however, the idea of constructing 
a central station in Calcutta, which for some 
years had remained dormant, was revived. 
Proposals were made by a Syndicate known 
as the " Calcutta Central Railway Syndi- 
cate," and their proposals were considered 
by a committee and ultimately by the 
Government of India. 

Briefly stated the Syndicate ofifered to 
construct a bridge, with a central railway and 
a central station, at an estimated cost of 425 
lakhs of rupees, accepting a guarantee of 2^ 
per cent on the capital employed, the re- 
venue to be derived from a toll on goods and 
passengers. 

The Committee who investigated the pro- 
posal agreed that a central railway station 
was preferable to maintaining different 
termini on the margin of the town ; they 
agreed that Bow Bazaar afforded the 
best site ; they thought however that the 
expense should not be defrayed in the man- 
ner proposed by the Syndicate, by the levy 
of tolls, but that the construction should be 
undertaken by the railways concerned, and 
not by a separate Company. While they 
considered it desirable to construct a railway 



198 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

bridge over the Hooghly, and to connect the 
railways on the West and East banks, by a 
line running through the heart of the city, 
their approval was subject to the condition 
that the scheme was financially practicable. 

On the question of the estimated cost and 
of the possible revenue there was much 
difference of opinion, and ultimately the 
Government of India informed the Syndicate 
that their offer, unsupported as it was by 
those most interested, namely, the public 
of Calcutta, could not be entertained. 

In the meantime the Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal, who had given the question his 
most careful consideration, made a counter- 
proposal " to develop the use of Sealdah," 
the terminus of the Eastern Bengal State 
Railway on the Eastern border of the city, 
" as a passenger station for the traffic with 
Upper India and for lessening the concentra- 
tion of traffic at Howrah by every practi- 
cable means." 

His views were summarized in these terms: 

(1) ** A railway bridge below Naihati is not at present 
required ; when one is required it should not be built below 
Cossipore. The construction of any bridge on piers in the 
stream, at or near Howrah i whether road or railway bridge), 
would be an experiment so dangerous to the shipping inter- 
ests of the port that it would not be justified, unless traffic 
could be served by no other reasonable alternative. " 

(2) The plans for railways from West and North- West 
of Calcutta should be prepared with this in view. 

(3) The development of goods traffic, vid the Jubilee 
Bridge, to and from the Kidderpore Docks, for both exports 
and imports, should be encouraged by all reasonable and 
practical means. 



VIBWS OF B. I. BAILWA7 BOARD. 199 

(4) The use of Sealdah as a passenffer station from 
and to Upper India should be carefully developed and all 
concentration of traffic at Howrah, passenger or goods, 
lessened by every practical means. 

(5) Another and more central railway station in the 
heart of Calcutta is not required, would add to the grave 
congestion of the area, and could not be made remunerative. 

With a good deal of this the Board of the 
East Indian Kailwav concurred. They 
agreed that a railway bridge below Hooghly 
was not needed ; stated that thev had done 
and would always do all in their power to 
develop and encourage goods traflSc vid the 
Hooghly Bridge, by equalizing the rates on 
all traffic passing from any part of the East 
Indian Railway, to and from the Docks, with 
those to and from Howrah ; though the dis- 
tance from Hooghly to the Docks is about 
12 miles greater than to Howrah, and 
though the capital expenditure on the 
Hooghly Bridge and its approaches and 
subsidiary stations had amounted to between 
60 and 70 lakhs of rupees. They had, they 
said, in order to facilitate the passage of 
export traffic, pressed on the Government of 
India the necessity for allowing the East 
Indian Railway to construct a separate line 
of its own from the Hooghly. Bridge to the 
Docks. 

As to the use of Sealdah as a passenger 
station the Board remarked that in their 
view " the character of the passenger traffic 
that is now dealt with at Howrah cannot be 
properly understood, if it is supposed that it 



200 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY, 

has reached its present development from 
any causes other than those arising from the 
necessities of the case, and the natural adap- 
tation of the population of Calcutta and the 
suburban towns, under the conditions of 
their various occupations and habits of life, 
to the conveniences oflfered to them by the 
railway. It cannot be doubted that during 
the fifty years and upwards, during which 
the Howrah Station had formed the princi- 
pal terminus of the East Indian Railway, the 
population has settled itself locally, with an 
intelligent appreciation of the best means of 
obtaining the services of the railway in the 
form most likely to be advantageous^to it. " 

The Board, however, were in no way averse 
to the use of Sealdah as a supplementary 
station to Howrah, they had in fact made a 
proposal to this effect some years previously. 
They desired an experiment to be made by 
starting at least one East Indian Railway 
passenger train from Sealdah instead of from 
Howrah, but circumstances prevented the 
trial, and it is remarkable that there has 
never been any public expression, on the part 
of any section of the Calcutta population, of 
the need of a direct train service from Seal- 
dah to stations on the East Indian Railway. 

The Board quite concurred with the view 
of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal that 
a central station was not needed. Calcutta 
is an essentially terminal station for all the 
railways that centre there, and no such 



CENTRAL STATION IMPRACTICABLB. 201 

transfer of passenger or goods traffic from 
station to station takes place in Calcutta, 
v^ ith a view to subsequent transmission over 
other lines, as is often the case at other large 
centres of population at which railway junc- 
tions take place. 

There is in fact no valid reason for " a 
common passenger station for all lines center- 
ing in Calcutta, ' and though a central sta- 
tion and a railway bridge connecting Howrah 
and Calcutta would undoubtedly oe a con- 
venience, the cost of providing it is far too 
great to bring it withm practicable reach. 

What is wanted is a suitable and commo- 
dious station at Howrah, and this at last is 
being constructed, though, unfortunately, the 
Government of India have only sanctioned 
part of what the East Indian Railway ori- 
ginally proposed, as necessary to meet the 
joint requirements of themselves and of the 
Bengal-Nagpur Railway Company. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Providbnt Institution. 

Thb establishment of the East Indian 
Railway Provident Institution was the 
outcome of a desire, on the part of the Board 
of Directors, to assist their employes to make 
some provision for the period of their old 
age after retirement from the service, or for 
their families in the event of their premature 
death, and in a general way it followed the 
idea of the Superannuation Funds connected 
with the various English Railways. 

The Institution was formally inaugurated 
with effect from 1st January 1868 and from 
that date membership was made a condition 
of service, men already in the service being 
allowed the option of joining or not, as they 
pleased. In the first instance the member- 
ship consisted of two classes — A and B — 
the one representing employes of European 
domicile and the other those representing 
other classes of employes drawing salaries of 
not less than Rs. 30 per mensem. The sub- 
scriptions were 5 per cent and 2^ per cent of 
salaries respectively, and the Company 
undertook to add annual contributions 
thereto, provided the annual net earnings 



AGGBS8I0N OF 8UB80BIBBB8 IK 1874. 20& 

attained a certain limit, such contribu- 
tions being distributed to members in 
proportion to the total amount standing 
at their credit on the books. The anti- 
cipations as to the net earnings of the 
railway were not realized at the outset, and 
it was not until 1874 — the year of the Tirhoot 
Famine — that the first contributions were 
received. In the meantime, the disappoint- 
ment referred to had led to considerable 
dissatisfaction amongst the stafi^, and in 
consequence of representations made to them 
the Board of Directors allowed all members 
the option of withdrawing from the Fund. 
This was availed of to a large extent, but 
with the prosperous outlook in 1874 there 
was a general desire for admission to the 
Fund, both on the part of those who had 
previously withdrawn from it and of others 
who had throughout refrained from exer- 
cising their option of joining, and in August 
1874 the Board of Directors, as an act of 
grace, again threw open the door of admis- 
sion to all who were eligible under the rules, 
reserving only the condition, that such 
option must then be exercised once for all 
and adding as a further concession that all 
members might subscribe as from 1st Janu- 
ary 1874, in order to participate in the expect- 
ed contribution for that year. This act of 
grace resulted in a large accession to the 
membership of the Fund and as it was 
immediately followed by a contribution 



204 HISTORY OF THR B. I. RAILWAY. 

equivalent to 87 per cent, of the total amount 
at credit of each member on the books on 
31st December 1874, there was a universal 
feeling of gratification throughout the service, 
more especially among those members who 
had adhered to the Fund from the date of 
its inception and whose tenacity and loyalty 
were thus so substantially and unexpectedly 
rewarded. 

The position continued in this state until 
1880 when the first contract of the under- 
taking expired, and the then Agent, Sir 
Bradlord Leslie, represented that the division 
of the membership into two classes and 
the limitation of subscriptions to salaries of 
not less than Rs. 30 per mensem created an 
undesirable distinction, which pressed hardly 
upon a large body of the Company's employes 
This representation was accepted by the 
Board of Directors, and from 1st January 
1881, the previous ckss distinctions were 
abolished, and membership was eligible to all 
employes drawing a monthly salary of Rs.l5 
and upwards, the general rate of subscrip- 
tion being fixed at 5 per cent. This rate was 
made compulsory, and as a further incentive 
to thrift, each member was permitted to add 
an additional subscription limited to a maxi- 
mum of a further 5 per cent on salary, 
such optional subscriptions ranking for 
participation in the contributions by the 
undertaking — which at this time were 
declared half-yearly instead of annually as 



NEW BULBS INTttODUCBD. 205 

before — to the extent of the available surplus 
after all compulsory subscriptions had been 
credited a sum equivalent to cent, per cent, 
thereon. 

The introduction of these new rules 
involved the division of contributions on the 
sum of the annual subscriptions, instead of, as 
heretofore, on the sum of the gross holdings 
of members, thus placing old and new 
members on the same footing, without regard 
to length of service and accumulations in the 
Fund. This action was resented by a large 
body of the older members whose profits were 
thereby considerably diminished. The opinion 
of Actuaries was taken, and after a full consi- 
deration of the oase of the older members, 
the Board accepted the view that their legal 
rights had been to some extent invaded and 
allowed them a grant of Rs. 1,50,000 as 
compensation. 

From this time — 1st January 1881 to 30th 
June 1903 — the annual contributions by the 
undertaking admitted of the addition to 
members' accounts, of sums equivalent to their 
annual subscriptions and a further considerable 
addition in respect of optional subscriptions. 

In the meantime, some other Indian 
railways had adopted a fixed compulsory 
rate of subscription of 8^ per cent, of salary ; 
optional subscriptions being at the same time 
permissible, practically without limit, up to 
the extent of salary, but debarred from parti- 
cipation in any share of the contributions, and 



206 HI8T0RT OF THE B. I. RAILWA7. 

it was found, on studying the cases referred 
to, that the basis of contnbution, if authorized 
for adoption on the East Indian Railway, 
would admit of larger contributions, even 
though the actual amount of monthly 
subscriptions were reduced from 10 to 8^ 
per cent. On a representation of the 
circumstances, the Board of Directors and the 
Secretary of State for India sanctioned the 
application of these new rules to the East 

• Indian Railway, and they were accordingly 
adopted with eflfect from 1st July 1903 ; the 
I'esult to members who accepted them being 
that they have since that date received as 
a,n annual contribution to their assets in the 
Fund a sum exactly equivalent to one 
month's pay — neither more nor less — and 
with the growing prosperity of the East 
Indian Railway undertaking there seems to 
be every prospect of this state of things 
heing prolonged indefinitely. 

No statement of the history of the East 
Indian Railway Provident Institution would 
be complete which omitted mention of the 
fact that it has already proved an invaluable 
boon to hundreds of retired East Indian 
Railway employes and their families, and that 
it deserves the fullest and most grateful 
recognition on the part of those who may 
confidently look forward to the benefits which 
it ensures on retirement. Still it does not do 
to trust to the Provident Fund alone as a 

sufficient provision fox t\\^ ^\3toxt^, Oi^^ecially 



PROVIDBNT FUND. 207 

in the case of those who retire out of India, 
and many hold that something more is 
needed to put railway servants on a par with 
those who retire from Government service on 
a pension. 



CHAPTBK XXIII. 

Hill School. 

On the purchase of the undertaking by 
Government on Ist January, 1880, it was, as 
already explained, found that a sum of over 
four lakhs of rupees remained at credit of 
the Saving Bank and Fine Funds ; the for- 
mer representing profits on working and the 
latter the unexpended accumulations of fines 
levied from the staflF. It was at once recog- 
nized that these monies should, if practicable, 
be devoted to some object for the benefit of 
the staff, and there was little diflSculty in 
arriving at a unanimous decision, that the best 
means of securing this object was the provi- 
sion of a school, in a temperate climate, for 
the education of the children of the European 
and Eurasian employes. The Company had 
already provided and subsidised schools at 
each of the large stations in the plains, both 
for the domiciled and the native staff, but 
there was a demand, on the part of the former 
class, for the benefits of a Hill climate for 
their children during the hot season and the 
question was how this demand could best be 
met. On the one hand, there were existing 
scholastic institutions at such of the HiU 
stations as Darjeeling, Mussoorie, Naini Tal, 



PURCHASE OF OAKGROVB BSTATB. 209 

Murree, and Simla which might have served 
the purpose, but either the character of 
endowments, or the scale of fees levied, 
debarred the larger proportion of the servants 
of the Company from obtaining the advantage 
of these schools and it was felt that the only 
feasible arrangement was to secure a purely 
railway school, under the absolute control 
of the principal oflScers of the Company. 
The results obtained by the North- Western 
(State) Kailway from an experiment made 
in this direction at "Fairlawn" near Jhera- 
pani, a place situated about mid- way between 
Rajpore and Mussoorie naturally attracted 
enquiries to that locality, and it happened 
at this juncture that " Oakgrove," a well- 
wooded and secluded estate, comprising 193 
acres of land in the adjoining vicinity, was 
in the market. This was purchased by the 
Company for the comparatively small sum 
of Rs. 30,000 and arrangements were at 
once made for erecting the requisite build- 
ings. In June 1888, the school was opened 
with a capacity for 210 pupils, having cost 
with the estate a sum of Rs. 200,000. The 
Board having, at the outset, recognized the 
disabilities under which the staff lay in 
respect of the scale of fees charged by other 
available institutions decided to set apart 
a further sum of Rs. 200,000 as an endow- 
ment towards payment of the Teaching Staff, 
the one object kept permanently in view 
being that the scale of fees levied should be 

H, BIR \\: 



210 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

such that all members of the staff could avail 
themselves of the benefits of the school. On 
these grounds the scale was fixed at Rs. 14 for 
the first child, Ks. 12 for the second and Rs. 10 
for the third and other children per mensem, 
a rate which, apart from the endowment and 
such grants-in-aid as could be obtained from 
Government, was obviously inadequate to 
cover the actual expenditure. This feature 
of the scheme, though not ventilated by the 
Committee of Management, was apparently 
recognized at the commencement by the 
staff, and many of the better- paid subordinate 
officers declined to send their children to 
the school and mainly, it is believed, owing 
to this fact the numbers of the scholars did 
not equal the capacity of the school until 
1895. At this period applications exceeded 
the limits, and as there was still a balance 
of about a lakh of rupees remaining from the 
funds before mentioned, it was decided to pur- 
chase the adjoining " Jherapani " estate and 
build a separate school for girls on the site. 
This estate, comprising 52 acres of land, Ues 
contiguous to the "Oakgrove" estate without 
any intervening boundaries, and on a favour- 
able site on it, a well-built school for girls 
was erected, capable of accommodating 140 
scholars, and opened in the month of April 
1897. The total expenditure on the entire 
school, including the Hospital and Sani- 
tarium, Swimming Bath and Bakery having 
cost Rs. 500,000 including the endowment. 



THE NORTH-WBSTERN JOIN THE EAST INDIAN. 211 

On the whole, the school has proved an 
unqualified success, and in 1905 had an 
average resident attendance of 394 pupils. 
(There are no day scholars.) The accommoda- 
tion, although stated generally at 210 in the 
boys and 140 in the girls' school, is fully 
equal to providing for 400 scholars without 
infringing the Government standard require- 
ments in respect of the space necessary for 
each scholar unit. 

With the advent of the East Indian Rail- 
way School at ** Oakgrove " the North- 
western Railway decided to close their 
adjacent establishment at "Fairlawn" and 
entered into an arrangement with the East 
Indian Railway Company : under it they 
secured the right to send the children of North- 
western RaUway employes to the school, 
and agreed in view of the fact that it had 
be^n erected, equipped and endowed from 
East Indian Railway sources, to guarantee a 
minimum sum per annum and the payment 
of a capitation fee that was mutually agreed 
upon as fairly representing the actual rate 
of expenditure unit, the North- Western 
Railway employ^ being only charged a sum 
relative to his salary and the diflference 
made up from the revenue of the North- 
western Railway. This arrangement has 
continued up to the present time, and 
has been found of mutual benefit to the 
school and the North- Western Railway 
employ^. 



212 HI8T0KY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

With the expiration of the second contract 
between the Secretary of State for India and 
the East Indian Railway Company on 31st 
December 1899, the former secured to 
Government under the third contract all 
proprietary rights in the school, but left 
the control and management of it to the 
Company. 

For some years past, the school attendance 
has, roughly speaking, been made up of an 
equal number of East Indian and North- 
western Railway children, and lately two 
oflScers of the North- Western Railway have 
been, at the instance of the East Indian 
Railway Board of Directors, added to the 
list of ex'officio Governors of the school. 

The standard of education at the school 
has been well maintained throughout. The 
pupils have taken a high place, and on more 
than one occasion the first place on the 
Government examination lists for the whole 
of the United Provinces. The same may 
also be said of the examinations tor entrance 
to the Roorkee Engineering College. A 
large percentage of the ex-pupils have found 
situations on the parent lines which they 
represent, and have thus fulfilled the ob- 
jects for which the school was established. 
Standing as it does at an elevation of 5,300 
feet above sea-level the climate of the school 
is temperate : the site is salubrious and far 
from all insanitation, the entire estate being 
absolutely reserved for the purposes of the 



THE HILL SCHOOL A SUCCESS. 213 

school. There is an excellent and pure 
water-supply flowing directly to the school, 
through its iron pipes, direct from the 
** Mossy Falls " springs. 

There is a rifle-range and ample room for 
out-door games, which are marked features of 
the school course, and a large swimming bath. 

In every way the school is simply but 
thoroughly equipped, and the Institution as a 
whole and the results obtained from it, form 
a most gratifying vindication of the impulse 
which led to its inception and of the expen- 
diture of the large sum of money which it 
has entailed. 

The constant aim of the governing body 
is not only to conserve, but, wherever 
possible, to increase, the benefits conferred 
by the Institution, the most recent addition 
being the grant by the East Indian Railway 
and North- Western Railway undertakings of 
Rs. 5,000 each per annum towards the 
foundation of scholarships and exhibitions, 
tenable by the pupils of the school. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

General Growth of Traffic. 

In the year 1889 the total receipts from all 
sources of traffic amounted to Rs. 458,79,405 ; 
in 1894 they were Rs. 543,33,171 ; by 1899 
they had gone up to Rs. 655,07,440, and 
during 1905 they were no less than 
Rs. 779,45,988. 

In 1889 the percentage of working expenses 
to gross receipts were 34*63, in 1894 30*64, 
in 1899 32-52, and in 1905 35*31. 

Nothing could speak more eloquently than 
these figures of the management of the East 
Indian Railway ; with a great expansion of 
traffic there has continued a marked economy 
in working, and it was this result that General 
Sir Richard Strachey set himself to achieve 
from the moment he assumed the Chairman- 
ship. Addressing the shareholders in 1890, 
he said : " It was my aim, while in India to 
inculcate the absolute necessity for seeking 

better results so that while the 

greatest practical economy was ensured, the 
varied interests, connected both with the pas- 
senger and goods service of the railway, should 
be constancy respected and their reasonable 
demands complied with." Eight years later 
he comments on what had by then been 



THB B. I. COMPARBD WITH OTHBB RAILWAYS. 215 

accomplished in the following terms : — " The 
careful attention given to administrative 
measures has reduced the working expenses 
below the amount at which they stood twelve 
years ago, although the passenger traffic has 
increased more ttian 75 per cent, and the 
goods traffic nearly 50 per cent., and it may 
confidently be aflSrmed that this has been 
accomplished in conjunction with a greatly 
improved condition of the permanent way, 
works and rolling stock, and increased effici- 
ency in every branch of the service." 

The exceptional position of the East Indian 
Eailway Company in relation to other Indian 
Railways and the economical way in which 
it is worked, compared either with Indian or 
English lines, has often formed a theme of 
comment in Sir Richard Strachey's addresses 
to the shareholders, but we need only quote 
one instance here — in 1897 he said: "It 
will, I think, be useful again to point out, as 
I have done on former occasions, the relative 
^reat importance of the East Indian Railway, 
in respect of the traffic with which it has to 
deal, compared to other Indian Railways, and 
from which you will better be able to judge 
of the nature of the responsibility which 
the Company accepts with the manage- 
ment of the undertaking. During the last 
four months for which we have returns 
of the traffic, it appears that the gross 
receipts of the East Indian Railway, the 
length worked being 1,833 miles, amounted 



216 HISTORY OF THB B. I, RAILWAY. 

to 187^ lakhs of rupees. During the same 

Jeriod, the aggregate receipts of the Great 
ndian Peninsular, the Indian Midland, the 
Bombay and Baroda, the Rajputana-Malwa 
and Bengal-Nagpur Railways, the total 
length worked on which was 5,399 miles, 
amounted in all to 188f lakhs of rupees." 

The traffic of the East Indian Railway 
has continued to give results immeasurably 
beyond that of any other railway in India, and 
although this is in a large degree due to the 
enormous coal traffic carried, still the expan- 
sion of other branches of traffic has also been 
very considerable. Allowing for variations 
in the wheat, grain and seed trade, due to the 
nature of the export demand or to famine or 
other cause, there has been continuous and 
marked development in practically all classes 
and kinds of traffic, and this is a most 
satisfactory feature, as it is on the growth of 
the general traffic, in all its branches, that 
the Company must rely for its continued 
progress and prosperity, rather than on the 
expansion of any particular items. 

In the interval between the years 1895 
and 1900, there were increases under the 
head of passengers amounting to two millions 
in number; under merchandise to a little more 
than one million tons ; and under coal to 
more than two million tons, but, although 
it is necessary to found a review of the 
working of the railway upon figures indicat- 
ing numbers of passengers and quantities 



VALUE OF THE RAILWAY TO THE COUNTRY. 217 

of goods carried, as well as the amount of 
rupees earned and spent in the process, yet 
this does not truly indicate the value or 
importance of the work done by the railway 
for the country. 

" To appreciate this," General Strachey 
remarked in 1901, "we must bear in mind 
the enormous advantages given a vast 
population, by the increasing facilities for 
travelling over great distances which other- 
wise would have been practically impos- 
sible. The extent of this convenience is 
indicated by the fact that in the past half- 
year more than eleven million persons have 
travelled on the railway, ten millions of 
whom were of the less affluent classes. 
Similar considerations apply to the effect pro- 
duced on the trade and material progress of 
the country. The protection against the 
worst results of drought has been complete 
and could have been obtained by no other 
means. The facilities for the transport of 
^opds over considerable distances must have 
increased the potential wealth of the people 
by several millions sterling yearly, through 
giving the means of carriage, at very low 
rates, and opening markets that would other- 
wise have Deen inaccessible, thus greatly 
stimulating and supporting internal as well 
as export trade." 

The growth of traffic on the East Indian 
Railway has in a large measure been due 
to attention to detail, and to the means taken 



218 HIBTOBT OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

to stimulate the internal as well as the ex- 
port trade of the country. Changes in the 
habits of the people have also had their 
eflTect on the traffic of the railway, or to 
put it in another way, the railway has 
enabled the population to adopt measures 
or to alter customs which, but for the rail- 
way, would never have been thought o£ 
This we see in many directions, but to take 
one illustration only ; in the early eighties 
vegetable oil, locally manufactured, was the 
onfy illuminant used by the masses ; a wagon 
load of kerosene oil was unknown, and only 
a few cases, for the use of Europeans and 
the more wealthy natives, were carried. 
Railway rates were reduced, and in 1889 the 
East Indian railway carried a traffic of 
24,376 tons — further reduction followed and, 
in 1905, the year's traffic in kerosene oil 
amounted to no less than 88,751 tons, a 
considerable portion of which was carried in 
bulk, for the carriage of which the Company 
had in the meantime constructed special 
stock. Nowadays kerosene oil may be pur- 
chased in any village in India, and the people 
bum practically nothing else. Similar re- 
marks might be made in respect to other de- 
tails, and speaking of the great growth of 
traffic since the formation of the line, the 
money returns of the East Indian Railway 
having during 40 years increased more than 
a hundredfold. General Strachey remarked 
in 1896 " when it is remembered that the 



STATKMBNT OF BAUNINGS SINCE OFBNING. 219* 

line with which we are concerned is no longer^ 
as it was in 1855, the only, or almost the only, 
railway in India, but one out of many, we are 
enabled to form some idea of the great change* 
in the habits of the people, the surprising 
expansion of trade, the rapid development of 
the resources of the country and our immense 
strengthening of our hold of India which are 
due to the introduction of railways." 

The following table shows the growth of 
traffic earnings, in, periods of ten years, since 
the opening of the line : — 

Gross earnings of the East Indian Railway system 
I during the following years. 



Period. 


CoAohing. 


Goods and 
minerals. 


Sundries. 


Total. 


♦ 


Rs. 


Rs. 


Rs 


Rs. 


15th August to 










31st DMember 










1854 


87,962 


3,551 


1,767 


93,280 


1884 


60»18.053 


77,43.271 


1,69,806 


1.39,31,130 


1874 


88,48,497 


2,70,77,403 


14,12,461 


3.73.38.361 


1884 


1.30.66.845 


2,99.88,895 


7.83,973 


4,38.^,713 


1894 


1,81.50.604 


3,63,55,879 


8.26,688 


5,g,g,171 


1W4 


2,33,46.816 


5,41,10 958 


12,68,238 


7.87.26,012 



Number of passengers and tons of goods carried. 



Period. 


No. of pa»»enger8. 


Tonfl of goods of all 
descriptions. 


15th August to 






31st D^sember 






1854 


141,161 


Not available. 


1864 


4,014,171 


660.571 


1874 


6,038,191 


2.330.907 


1884 


11,126.560 


4.313.066 


1894 


17,209,825 


6,133,732 


1904 


23,585,686 


12,233.188 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Various Projects for dealing with the 
Export Coal Trade and other matters. 

Mention has been made of a scheme to 
provide coal jetties and loading appliances at 
a* point on the River Hoogmy adjacent to 
the Botanical Gardens. The locality was 
considered eminently suitable and convenient 
for the purpose and the approach to it, from 
the vicinity of Bally Station, a short distance 
above Howrah, could, at the time it was 
mooted, have been constructed without inter- 
fering with valuable property, so that the 
expense was not likely to be unusually great. 
There was therefore some reason to hope that 
the Government would sanction the work, 
which, in the words of General Sir Richard 
Strachey, would '* supply the coal owners of 
Bengal, the means of giving to the export 
trade a development commensurate with the 
almost inexhaustible supplies of the mineral 
which is within their reach and which it will 
be the endeavour of the undertaking to 
carry to the place of shipment at the lowest 
possible cost." 

It was far from the object of the East 
Indian Railway, either in connection with 
this scheme, or ottieT pxo^o^^ ^\A, ^or^^^t^ 



PR0P08KD PORT ON THE MUTLAH. 221 

to assist the trade of Calcutta, to obtain 
any exclusive advantage for the Company, 
or to go in any way beyond the proper 
functions of a railway which, according to 
Sir Richard Strachey's policy, were "to 
extend to the utmost the means of transport 
for the commercial community generally, and 
to support, within the sphere of their 
legitimate action, all efforts made with this 
object, however they may originate." The 
scheme, if it had been adopted, would have 
assisted all railways bringing coal into 
Calcutta for export, but unfortunately 
differences of opinion arose as to the expe- 
diency of carrying out the proposal, and the 
idea was abandoned. 

Later on another scheme was put 
forward, which may in fact be said to 
have been the revival, in another form, of a 
very old project. Colonel Gardiner, the 
Company's Agent in Calcutta, recommended 
the construction of a subsidia^ port on the 
Mutlah River, at a place called !r ort Canning, 
to which a line of rail had already been con- 
structed, and where it was thought that the 
export coal traffic could better be dealt with 
than at the Kidderpore Docks, which, it will 
be remembered, were originally intended for 
the export of grain and seeds but not of coal. 

Surveys were made, and it was then found 
that the Mutlah had .ceased to be a river in 
the ordinary sense of the term ; it had in 
fact become a tidal estuary ot ^thv ofl "^^ 



222 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

«ea, with a very deteriorated channel, diffi- 
cult to navigate. The conclusion come to was 
that the idea of establishing a coal export 
•dep6t at such a place failed to offer any 
prospects of success. This scheme also was 
abandoned. 

Time went on, and the great growth of 
the coal export trade proved how necessary 
it was to afford some relief to the pressure 
on the resources of the docks. The 
Bengal-Nagpur Railway had not only 
gained access to the Jherriah field, but had 
extended their line via Midnapur to a point 
on the right bank of the Hooghly opposite 
Calcutta, immediately below the East Indian 
Railway Station of Howrah. Here they 
had established a wagon ferry, to get into 
<lirect communication with the Kidderpore 
Docks ; in other words, a wagon loaded at 
any station on their system could be passed 
by their own route to the Kidderpore Docks 
without break of bulk. They also had access 
to the docks via Asansol and the Jubilee 
Bridge at Hooghly, but neither of these 
routes gave them all they wanted. They 
appeared to desire to wrest from the East 
Indian Railway the bulk of the coal export 
trade, by constructing a line to a point on the 
Hooghly some miles below Calcutta, where 
they proposed to establish docks, provided 
with mechanical loading appliances and to 
<iivert the coal export trade to this point. The 
place where it was pioipo^ed to ^laee this 



THE LUFF POINT SOHBMB. 223 

coal export dep6t was known as Luff Point, 
but in the opinion of those best acquainted 
with the river it was not possible to take 
ships in and out of docks at Liuff Point with 
any degree of safety or without obstructing 
the navigation of the river. The Govern- 
ment, however, appointed a Commission to 
consider the scheme which involved many 
issues, as, for instance, the abiUty of the 
Kidderpore Docks to deal with the trade ; 
the possible expansion of the coal export 
business of the port in the future ; the cost of 
constructing new docks and the difficulties of 
dealing with coal exports at a place distant 
from Calcutta, to which only one railway 
would have the means of approach. 

The Commission met in Calcutta in the 
cold season of 1900-1 and went very fully 
into the subject, with the result that 
the scheme, as put forward by the Bengal- 
Nagpur Railway, was not accepted. Public 
opinion in Calcutta was divided, but in the 
main it was opposed to the idea. The 
*' Englishman," in common with other papers, 
published articles and correspondence con- 
taining different views. The first of these, 
being a fair sample of the feeling at the 
time, is partly reproduced, and it will be noted 
that the poUcy suggested in this article is 
the solution ultimately come to, viz., equal 
rates, by both the East Indian and Bengal- 
Nagpur Railways, from the Jherriah coal- 
field to Calcutta. 



224 history of the e. 1. railway. 

The Luff Point Scheme. 

*' The Luff Point Scheme is likely to deve- 
lop into one of the most momentous economic 
problems ever placed before the Calcutta 
public, and it is well that its true issue and 
effect on the trade of the port be considered, 
before the Commission, which will shortly 
sit, begins to take evidence. A little more 
than two years have passed since the Gov- 
ernment decided to give the Bengal-Nag- 
pur Railway access to the Jherriah coal- 
fields. The coal trade had pressed for the 
admission of this line, because it was felt 
that there would then arise a competition 
between the East Indian and Bengal-Nagpur 
Railways, and that as a result the freight on 
coal would be reduced, and beyond this it 
was thought that collieries would be put in a 
more favourable position in regard to wagon 
supply. The actual effect has been that the 
advent of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway has 
opened out a large additional area of supply, 
and this has helped materially to bring down 
the sale price of coal ; w^hether colliery pro- 
prietors have really benefited is an open 
question, but at any rate they have attained 
their object. In giving the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railway access to the Jherriah field, the 
Government laid down as a principle that 
the collieries in the field, wherever situated, 
might call for the wagons of whichever of 
the two railways tViey d^^Vi^d to consign 



THE "englishman" ON THE LUFF POINT SCHEME. 225 

their coal by, and the railways decided that 
rates should be equal by both routes. 

Recently the Government held that neither 
of the two railways, competing for the traffic 
under these conditions, should be allowed to 
go below the prescribed minimum rate of 
^th pie per maund per mile, and conse- 
quent on this decision the Bengal-Nagpur 
Kailway, which, in some instances, had gone 
below the minimum, in order to equalize 
pharges with the shorter route, ind the East 
Indian Railway, enhanced its rates to the 
public, not as might have been expected to 
the minimum allowed, but in some cases to 
a great deal beyond. The effect has tem- 
porarily been to put the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railway out of competition for the carriage 
of the export trade, but we cannot think that 
the Government intended that this should be 
the sequence of their decision, and undoubt- 
edly the position is capable of a simple 
solution, which neither the East Indian nor 
Bengal-Nagpur Railways could object to. 
And we should say that a solution is 
possible which would also be acceptable to 
the trade, who cannot expect more than that 
both railways should be placed on equal 
terms for their custom, and that, as a conse- 
quence, freight to Calcutta should not be 
higher, from any point by the longer route, 
than it is by the shorter. 

We hold in fact that the position prior to 
the recent ruling of GovermiierA) ^bjb^ ^ 

H, SIB \^ 



226 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY* 

satisfactory one, both to the railways and to 
the trade. Now if this is accepted, the 
question to consider is, what the result would 
be if the Luff Point Scheme was adopted 
and the export trade was taken from the 
Kidderpur L)ocks to Luff Point. First of 
all we may assume that the Government 
would be bound to give the East Indian 
Railway access to Luff Point, on the same 
terms as the Bengal-Nagpur Eailway. In 
other words, the East Inman Railway would 
be empowered to run coal to Luff Point at 
the same rate of freight as the Bengal- 
Nagpur Railway, and, so far as can be seen, 
over the same route as the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railway for most of the way. Were this 
not so, or, in other words, were the East 
Indian Railway put out of competition for 
the carriage of export coal, the trade would 
revert to much the same position as 
before the Bengal-Nagpur Railway was 
admitted to the Jherriah coal-field, that 
is to say, coal owners would again become 
dependent upon one line of railway for 
the carriage of their coal instead of two. 
Does the trade consider that they would be 
any better served by the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railway alone than they were previously 
served by the East Indian Railway alone? 
The Chairman of the Indian Mining Asso- 
ciation proved beyond question, at a recent 
meeting, that the Kidderpur Docks were 
capable of dealing with any likely expansion 



THE "BNGLISHMAN" ON THB LUFF POINT SCHEME. 227 

of the coal trade tor many years to come, 
and that LuflF Point was not wanted. Why 
then saddle the port with costly facilities 
which are not required and which in the end 
the public must pay for ? 

Luff Point is not wanted ; what is wanted 
is already available, viz,, two railways 
between the coal-fields and the port of 
Calcutta. Beyond this, equal rates and . 
facilities should be given by both railways, 
and no more money should be wasted on 
additional lines or docks ; in saying this we 
include the costly Bankura-Bishenpur Chord 
Line Scheme. The accident that one railway 
happens to have a somewhat shorter route 
than the other should not, in a case of this 
kind, be allowed to influence the question of 
rates, so long as the percentage of difference 
in mileage is only nominal ; and where the 
interests of both railways are identical with 
those of the trade, we may be confident that 
in no case would they charge anything 
beyond the lowest possible freight. If, 
however, one railway ran to Luff Point 
and the other to the docks and both 
charged, as they undoubtedly would, equal 
rates to either place, the trade would go 
to the point from which shipping charges 
were lowest, and in this case either 
Luff Point or the docks would be bound 
to become a white elephant, with which 
the port of Calcutta would be eternally 
saddled." 



228 HISTOBT OF THB E. I. RAILWAY. 

To go back a few years earlier than the 
Luff Point controversy. In 1898, in order 
to relieve the pressure on the East Indian 
Railway below Burdwan, where, whenever 
traffic was at all brisk, there was constant 
congestion, the Company proposed to 
construct a short chord to Howrah. The 
route was surveyed, but before sanctioning 
.construction the Government appointed a 
Committee to consider its necessity. 

This Comimittee sat in 1901, Mr. James 
Douglas, the Agent, representing the 
Railway Company, the rest of the Committee 
being composed of Public Works officers, the 
majority of whom were opposed to the 
scheme. Besides considering the measures 
necessary for the relief of congestion of traffic 
on the lower section of the East Indian 
Railway the Committee also dealt with the 
following questions : — 

(1) The entrance of the Bengal -Nagpur Railway into 
the Jherriah coal-fields. 

(2) The provision of an independent access to Calcutta 
from the North- Western Provinces. 

As a result the short chord line proposed 
by the East Indian Railway was abandoned, 
and the Bengal-Nagpur Railway were allowed 
into Jherriah. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Statistics. 

Accurate statistics of work done on Indian 
railways have, almost from the earliest 
days, been held to be one of the most 
important factors of economical manage- 
ment, as they afford an efficient means of 
ascertaining the work actually performed and 
the cost of performing it. The histow of 
railway statistics in India is contained in 
a note published by General Sir Kichard 
Strachey in 1901, here reproduced : — 

" Note on the bearing of accurate statistics 
of working on the economical mana-gement of 
railways : — 

" The Times of the 14th December, quoting 
from the Statist of the same date, which 
has a long article on the subject, announces, 
on the authority of the General Manager of 
the great railway system known as the North- 
Eastem Railway of England, as though it 
was something remarkable, that its managers 
have determined to adopt what the Statist 
calls the American system of ton and passen- 
ger mileage returns. It tells us also, on the 
same authority, what I think will startle 
some persons, that the average tT^m\c«jia.^\jL 
the Aorti-Eastem system axxrai^ ^^ l^^»s 



230 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

1900 were, in round numbers, in passenger 
trains only 62*4 persons, in merchandise 
trains only 44 tons, in mineral trains only 
92^ tons, or in merchandise and minerals 
taken together 66 '6 tons ; and that the aver- 
age rates charged were, for passengers •617c?. 
per mile, for merchandise 1*64 per ton per 
mile, and for minerals Id. per ton per mile, 
or taking merchandise, live stock and minerals 
together 1 '24 per ton per mile ; and there is 
no reason to suppose that the train loads and 
charges on other great English lines differ 
materially from those of the North-Eastem. 

Managers of Indian railways will fully 
understand from these figures how it is that 
English Companies with their constant in- 
creases of capital expenditure, in working ex- 
penses and in the ratio of expenses to 
receipts, and in demands made on them 
for reduction of rates, are beginning to 
find themselves on the edge of a precipice, 
with the greater part at least of the divi- 
dends on their ordinary stock in jeopardy. 

But they might also say that the discovery 
of the value of ton and passenger mileage 
returns comes more than a little late, and 
that to speak of it as an American practice 
implies a curious ignorance that the practice, 
was adopted more than 30 years ago, under 
the orders of the Government of India, by 
all Indian railways, and its results for at 
least 25 years have been widely disseminated 
in iimumerable copies oi \Ti^\«xi \\sJ&-^^^2fl^ 



ADOPTION OF RAILWAY STATISTICS, 231 

reports, many of which must, at some time 
or other, have been in the hands of the bulk 
of the Managers and Directors of English 
railways, if only because many of them hold 
Indian railway stock. 

The present seems therefore a suitable 
occasion for stating the reasons which led to 
the adoption of these returns in India, and 
the results which have followed their intro- 
duction. I shall confine myself on this sub- 
ject to the East Indian Railway, which took 
and has kept the lead in the matter from the 
first. 

In the year 1867, thirteen years after the 
opening of the line, the Board of the East 
Indian Railway found themselves in a very 
serious condition. Their capital expenditure 
had long passed all expectations, demands 
for fresh and heavy expenditure were reach- 
ing them almost by every mail, their working 
expenses were high and their traflSc was 
disappointingly small It was felt that 
something must be done and it was finally 
determined to despatch the gentleman who 
was then, and still is, their Consulting 
Engineer, Mr. as he was then, now Sir 
Alexander Rendel, to India to consult with 
the Company's officers there generally on the 
subject. 

I was then Secretary of the Public Works 
Department of India, and naturally I saw a 
great deal of Mr. Rendel. Of the te^wlfc q>^ 
bis visit in respect to cap\ta\ elL^evv^\i^^x^>'V 



232 HI8T0BT OF THS B. I. RAILWAY. 

need say nothing here, except that it was 
highly successfm. But by far the more 
important result, for, in fact, the usefulness 
of the line to India, as well as its financial 
success, has been determined by it, was that 
our many conversations on the subject led to 
this conclusion — ^that nothing of value could 
be effected on Indian lines, until their traffics 
were stated in ton and passenger mileage. 
My own recollections of the details of our 
discussions are, from lapse of time, getting 
hazy ; but Sir Alexander Bendel tells me 
that he well remembers how, when he express- 
ed a doubt whether the Companies could be 
induced to prepare the necessary statements, 
I declared that '^ it could be done and should 
be done" and somehow or other done it was 
at once. The decision was come to in the 
early part of 1868. Of course, it took some 
little time to set things in motion ; but very 
early in the seventies, Sir Juland Danvers, 
then the Government Director of Indian 
Railway Companies published, in his Annual 
report to the Secretary of State, a note by 
Mr. Rendel on the subject ; and in 1874 the 
East Indian Railway Board took the matter 
up by publishingin their report for the second 
half of 1873, the statement (the form of 
which will be seen on page 234) then and 
long afterwards known as Mr. Rendel's 
statement, for the second halves of 1871, 
1872 and 1873. This continued to the time 
when the Goverinnexv^, oi \Tk^\^ ^0«. ^n^ 



PBACTICAL RESULTS OF STATISTICS. 233 

from Sir Juland Danvers the duty of pre- 
paring the annual report on Indian rail- 
ways, and developed their statistics into the 
perhaps over-elaborate form in which they 
are now drawn up. The Board from that 
time attached to their half-yearly reports, 
and still do so, a copy of so much of the 
Government statistics as included the more 
simple statement of their earlier reports. 

It has, moreover, become the established 
practice to place, week by week, before the 
official meetings, at which are present the 
Agent and Heads of Departments, as well as 
the Government Consulting Engineer and 
Examiner of Accounts, a statement contain- 
ing the principal results of the working, so 
that the whole of the officers concerned in 
the management of the traffic are kept con- 
tinually informed of the progress made, and 
immediate attention is directed to any falling 
off or improvement in the train and wagon 
loads, as well as to the increases and decreases 
of the traffic of all descriptions and the 
receipts from it. 

The practical results of this system, the 
influence of which on the Administrative 
Staff extends also to the Board of Directors, 
to whom these weekly statements are 
regularly submitted, may be gathered from 
the annexed comparison of the traffic of the 
line for the first half of 1872, before the 
new statistics had produced mucVv, tV\a\iL^ 
siill some result, with tViaV, o^ \)cl^ ^^^^ 



284 



HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 



half of 1901 — when they had been acted 
on for more than thirty years. I take for 
the former period what was then known as 
the main line. I omit the Jubbulpore line, 
the accounts of which were at the time 
stated separately, because it was then but 
new, and its union with the main line would 
lead to unduly unfavourable conclusions. I 
convert also rupees from their standard 
value in 1872 of Is. 10c?. to their present 
price of l^. 4c2. and I take a passenger train 
mile in both cases as costing the same as a 
goods train mile, and compute the cost per 
train mile in the same way as in 1872. 
We have then the following : — 

PASSENGER TRAFFIC. 





let half year, 


Isthalf yoar^ 
1901. 




Miles open 


1,281 


2,136 


1. Average receipts from each pas- 






senger train per mile 


6#. VSd. 


i8. S'Sd. 


2. Average sum received for carry- 






ing a passenger (taking all classes to- 






gether) one mile ... 
3. Average number in any passenger 


*27d. 


'223d. 






train at any one time 


235 


257 


4. Average cost of running a train 






one mile 


2s. Sid. 


U. lOfd. 


5. Average cost of carrying a passen- 






ger one mile 


•112d. 


•088d. 


6. Average profit on each passenger 






per mile 


•158d. 


•135d. 


7. Average number of passenger 
trains running over each mile of line 
each way per diem (supposing all trains 














to run over the whole line in operation). 


2*25 


3-91 


8. Average number of passengers 






pawing over each mile of line both ways 






per diem 


I \.<»A 


, 2.010 



MAIN FBATUBBS OF STATISTICS. 

GOODS TRAFFIC. 

{Including miMrals.) 



235 





Ist half year. 


Uth.^^e.r. 




1872. 


Bliles open 


1,281 


2,136 


1. Average receipts from each goods 
train per mile 


78. ea. 


Of. id. 


2. Averaf^e sum received for carrying 






one ton of goods (taking all classes 






together) one mile 
3. Average load in tons in any goods 


•78»d. 


•377(i. 


tons 


tons 


train at any one time 


113-76 


201-5* 


4. Average cost of running a train 






one mile 


28.^. 


Is. 10§d. 


5. Average cost of carrying a ton of 
goods one mile ... 


•238d. 


'Il2d. 


6. Average profit on each ton per 






mile ... 


•651d. 


-265d. 


7. Average number of goods trains 






running over each mile of line, each 






way per diem (supposing all trains to 






run over the whole line in operation) ... 


3*68 


7 


8. Average number of tons passing 






over each mile of line both ways per 


tons 


ftons 


diem ... 


883-6 


2,820 



The main features of this comparison 
are : — 

1. The great increase of the average daily- 
number of passengers and tons of goods pass- 
ing over each Hne of railway, being for the 
former 100 per cent, and for the latter nearly 
250 per cent., while the mileage worked has. 
increased more than 50 per cent. f8 

2. The increased train load of goods^ 
which has been nearly doubled. 

3. The reduced charge for goods, the 
average now being considerably 1^%"^. ^Vsmow 

one half that of 1872. 



236 HIBTORT OF THK K. I. RAILWAY. 

4. The reduction of the cost of running 
trains, amounting to about one-fourth. 

Under the influence of steady attention 
to train load we first largely reduced the 
mileage cost of carrying a passenger or a 
ton of goods. Then, naving reduced our 
expenses, we were enabled to reduce our 
rates; and then, by reducing our rates, we 
increased our traflSc. We also saved in capi- 
tal expenditure by reducing the quantity of 
rolling and locomotive stocKS, and of station 
accommodation of all kinds, &c., &c., that 
was needed to meet the requirements of 
traffic. 

The very diflferent conditions of the two 
countries does not admit of any useful com- 
parison of the money receipts and charges 
between the East Indian and North-Eastern 
Railways. As to train loads, however, it 
may be remarked that the passenger train 
loads, though four times those of the North- 
Eastern, are less than on several other Indian 
lines. The cause lies in our rates, which 
are still too high. In goods, although we 
have nearly doubled our train loads since 
1872, the goods and mineral train loads 
should be greater than they are, and I have 
no doubt that a judicious reduction of rates 
would lead to an increase in quantities carried 
that would be profitable. There are, how- 
ever, difficulties in the way of making provi- 
sion for any considerable increase to traffic, 
whether in paasengex^^ ot ^oo^^, \Xv^\> x^\\^^^ 



USB OF STATISTICS, 237 

any immediate action in this direction im- 
practicable. 

If it be asked what have ton and passenger 
mileage returns to do with all this, the 
reply is, that with ton and passenger mile 
returns, as well as passenger and goods train 
miles, you arrive at once at the average 
passenger and goods train loads, and these 
are a test of the healthy management of a 
line, such as a healthy pulse is to the human 
being. Making, of course, due allowances 
for variation of circumstances they are 
infallible. Low train loads, except under 
known or easily ascertainable circumstances 

Joint, without doubt, to faulty management, 
f uncorrected, they will lead a line to 
destruction, for low train loads mean high 
train mileage. The working expenses of 
a railway are not necessarily proportionate 
to the traflSc carried, but to the enbrt made 
to carry the traflSc — ^that is mainly to the 
train mileage run ; and a needlessly high 
train mileage means capital and revenue 
wasted in every possible form, and, worse 
than this, it means rates and fares beyond 
the necessities of the case and consequent 
needless burdens on commerce. The public 
always pays ultimately for the blunders of 
railway management. 

We who are connected with India are 
free, at any rate to a great extent, from this 
reproach, but this is due, in a degree which 
possibly will never be fully admSxiW^, \^ ^xsx 



238 HISTORY OF THB E. I. KAILWAY. 

ton and passenger mileage returns and the 
way they have been forced by the adminis- 
trations on the attention of the Executives 
of Indian railways." 

It will be noted that it took nearly thirty 
years to increase the loads of goods trains 
from 11375 tons to 201*59 tons and that 
Oeneral Sir Richard Strachey was not 
altogether satisfied with the results. By 
1902 the figure had gone up to 20275 tons, 
but early m 1903 Sir Alexander Reudel 
once more visited India and attended one 
of the weekly official meetings at which the 
statistics are examined ; he drew special 
attention to the subject of train loads and 
said that in his opinion the average weight 
in a train should be increased to 250 tons. 
EflForts were made to bring about the 
desired result, and what followed is within the 
knowledge of all interested in the subject ; 
by the close of 1904, the average weight 
had not only been increased to the figure 
mentioned by Sir Alexander Rendel, but 
had gone beyond it, and has since risen to 
over 275 tons. 

Statistics not only form the true basis for 
economies in working, but have enabled the 
East Indian Railway Company to initiate 
with confidence a liberal policy in regard to 
rates, and to introduce concessions which, 
in their absence, would be thought dan- 
g'erously near tlie \me x^kere profit ends and 



ECONOMY FOLLOWS STATI8TI0S. 239 

loss begins. In the case of the East Indian 
Railway statistics have proved, not an end 
but a means to an end, and for their intro- 
duction and application to railway working 
in India, if not throughout the world, we 
have to thank General Sir Richard Strachey 
and Sir Alexander Rendel. As General Sir 
Richard Strachey said to the shareholders in 
1898, statistics bring it within our reach to 
determine " how far the means employed 
are actually utilised, and in what direction 
waste occurs and where economy is to be 
sought for. I have no hesitation in saying 
that the unquestionably economical working 
of Indian railways generally, is in no smaU 
degree due to the system of check thus pro- 
vided." 

To further assist in raising the standard 
of work done, weekly statistics are now pub- 
lished shewing, for several sections of the 
line, the average load per wagon loaded on 
the district, the vehicle mileage, the up and 
down engine mileage, the engine hours, 
wagon miles per hour, train miles per hour 
and other details. This information is in 
the hands of the staflF very shortly after 
the period to which it pertains, ana is not 
only found a most useful record of work done 
in each district, but is a basis for discussion 
at the meetings of TraflSc oflScers which 
are held every few months. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

The Jamalpur Workshops. 

It has often been asked why it was that 
Jamalpur was selected as the site for the 
Company's Locomotive Works. Jamalpur 
is off the main line, is distant from the 
Bengal coal-fields, whence not only its 
fuel but its pig iron has to be transported, 
and beyond this it has no natural water- 
supply. 

To have selected such a place as the Head- 
Quarters of Locomotive Engineering works 
was obviously a blunder ; as great a blunder 
perhaps as the construction of the tunnel 
near by, a piece of work that was altogether 
unnecessary and stands to this day a monu- 
ment of the wastefiil expenditure of the time. 
The chief reason for the choice seems to 
have been that Jamalpur was adjacent to 
the town of Monghyr, which had been known 
for years as the " Birmingham of the East," 
and it was conceived that a plentiful supply 
of skilled mechanics could always be drawn 
from that place. The inhabitants of Mon- 
ghyr had for centuries been mechanics by 
trade, they were of a caste skilled in the 
manufacture of ironware, notably of guns, 
pistols, spears and other weapons, and were 



DECISION TO MOVE TO JAMALPUR. 241 

clearly the class of people who would readily 
take to mechanical engiiieerinji^ work. 

Beyond this it must not be forgotten that, 
at the time the selection was made, Jamalpur 
was on, what was then intended to be, the 
main line of the railway. 

Jamalpur was at first only an engine 
changing station, though light repairs were 
done in the running shed there. The actual 
head-quarters of the Locomotive Depart- 
ment were at Howrah, but this place, being 
near Calcutta, not only possessed great draw- 
backs but was too confined to admit of 
extensions. There was in fact no room in 
Howrah for the workshops of the Locomo- 
tive Department, as well as for the Company's 
Carriage and Wagon Building works, and 
after long and mature consideration it was 
decided to remove the former to Jamalpur. 
I am indebted to Mr. John Strachan, late 
Locomotive Superintendent of the Company, 
for the following account of the cause of 
the removal : — 

" It was not till the early sixties that the late Mr. D. W. 
Campbell decided to remove the workshops to Jamalpur, 
and this was owing to the drivers and fitters giving trouble. 
They were all covenanted men from home who had left 
their families there, and as hotels and billiard rooms were 
their only amusement, it was no uncommon thing for men to 
leave the shops durincf working hours and adjourn to a 
hotel, then opposite the railway station, kept by a very 
civil old ship steward, uamed Bobby Deans, who could 
always give them something to eat, as well as something 
to drink and a game of billiards. " 

" There were also several other places of amusement in 
Howrah and Calcutta to which men cowVd. %o^^\A ^\si<(^\!k.^ 
these was a place known as Wilson's Coii^i© 'E.ooixi?^ 

H,EIR Y^ 



242 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY, 

**One day Mr. Campbell, returning from the weekly 
Meeting in the Agent's Office, happened to call at Wilson's 
Coffee Room for tiffin, and here he found three of his princi- 
pal workshop foremen and two engine drivers enjoying 
themselves in rather a boisterous manner. They asked him 
to join them in having a peg. What he said in reply has 
never been recorded, but the men very quickly retired, and 
after that Mr. Campbell never rested until he had the 
workshops and Locomotive Offices removed from Howrah to 
Jamalpur.'' 

It is no part of this history to trace the 
gradual growth of Jamalpur, from a small 
engine-changing station, to what is now 
known as the " Crewe of India, " but the 
following account, kindly furnished me by 
Mr. cS>.\P) M. Nash, of the Locomotive De- 
partment, is of undoubted interest, containing 
as it does a very clear description of Jamal- 
pur and the Company's Works there at the 
present time. 

"The supervising staflF of the workshops 
consists of 26 Foremen and Assistant Fore- 
men and about 180 European and East Indian 
mechanics ; of the former a large proportion 
have been recruited from England direct. 
Practically the whole of this staff is housed 
in quarters owned by the Company, and 
live within easy distance of the workshops. 
Other buildings consist of a Church, Roman 
Catholic Chapel, Mechanics' Institute, Swim- 
ming Bath, Hospital, including a separate 
building for infectious diseases, and a School 
for the children of European .and East 
Indian employes. There is also a Boarding- 
house in which 40 EiXxto^^^w ^\A^%.^t» Indian 



DESCRIPTION OF JAMALPUR. 243 

apprentices are lodged and eared for under 
the charge of a resident master and matron. 
In addition to this 21 live elsewhere in 
the station. It may perhaps not be out of 
place, while on this subject, to point out the 
importance of this system of training 
indentured apprentices. The recruitment of 
the subordinate supervising grade has 
hitherto been chiefly done by the introduc- 
tion of men from England, but it is hoped 
that in the future suitable candidates will 
have been trained up in the workshops to 
take these appointments, and the expense of 
importing men will be saved, as well as the 
risk of the climate not suiting the men thus 
brought out to India for the first time. At 
the same time it must be remembered that 
an excellent field of employment is thus 
afforded for the sons of the Company's 
servants. 

Jamalpur is the head-quarters of the 
East Indian Railway Volunteer Rifles, at 
the present time 2,300 strong, and the 
Armoury and Head-quarters staff are 
in Jamalpur. 

The recreation of the men is not forgotten, 
and there is a flourishing Gymkhana in 
connection with the Mechanics' Institute, 
providing cricket, football, tennis, etc. 

The workshops at the present time cover 
an area of about 100 acres, of which about 20 
are roofed over, the whole being fenced in 
with a high iron fence. 'Si^t^^w^^^x'^^'^ 



244 HIBTOKY OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

Ihey occupied barely half of this space. At 
that time 3,122 men were employed com- 
pared with 9,428 this year (1906), the wages 
in 1890 amounted to Rs. 4,15,093 compared 
with Rs. 11,00,000 in 1905. The value 
of the outturn is about Rs. 54,00,000 a year 
or £360,000 compared with £58,332 in 1890. 
The above serves to give some idea of the 
vast strides that have been made in the last 
few years, and the growth of the Locomotive 
Department of the rail way may also be gauged 
by the fact that in 1863 the total engine 
stock was 247, and at the present time is 952. 

The shops are now or will be very shortly 
in a position to build locomotives to meet all 
the requirements of the line. The work of 
building locomotives has been actually going 
on for some years, but owing to the amount 
of repairs to existing stock that is necessary, 
new-engine building has had to be kept 
back. Almost all the parts of a locomo- 
tive can now be manufactured in the shops, 
including all steel castings, and the actual 
cost of a locomotive built at Jamalpur is 
therefore considerably less than one purchased 
and imported. The Jamalpur built engines 
have given most satisfactory results. 

There are of course larger railway shops 
existing in Europe, but few are more self- 
contained or better equipped with modern 
electrically-driven machinery than these 
workshops. The distance from England and 
the cost of fre\g\iti aiiA. ^i)cife ^e,^cyHv^%3Qt^\\L^ 



WORK DONE AT JAMALPUR. 245 

delays in complying with indents for 
materials, etc., have been successfully over- 
come by the liberal and progressive policy 
the Company have adopted in developing 
Jamalpur. It must not be overlooked that 
in addition to actual locomotive work, 
the workshops undertake work for the 
Engineering, Stores, Collieries and Carriage 
and Wagon Departments, ^he whole of the 7^ ^ 
manufacture of the Denham & Olphert ^^ ^^^ 
cast-iron sleeper, which is the standard in 
use on the line, being made here ; the total 
value of the outturn for the Engineering 
Department in the half-year ending June 
1905 being Rs. 10,77,375. All signalling 
and interlocking gear, posts, frames, etc., are 
manufactured complete, and this has become 
a very large item in the outturn, a more 
detailed description of which will be found 
below. It may truthfully be said that any 
general engineering work can be carried out 
in the shops, as occasion demands. 

The question of the supply of native 
labour is now-a-days a serious one at Jamal- 
pur, as the growth of the workshops has 
completely outgrown the local supply ; it has 
therefore for some time past become neces- 
sary to bring in labour daily, from a distance 
of 19 miles on one side, 7 miles on another, 
as well as from Monghyr, the Civil Station, 
6 miles distant. Workmen's trains are run 
out to these distances morning and eve\>i\N% 
to bring in and take back t\ie ^jotVov^w- 



246 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

The water-supply of these large workshops 
is from time to time a source of anxiety. 
The daily consumption is about 350,000 
gallons, and this is drawn from reservoirs in 
which rain water is stored, all available 
catchment area being " tapped " for the pur- 
pose ; the supply therefore is entirely depen- 
dent on the rainfall. For a period of two 
months or so, on two occasions during the 
last few years, due to a short rainfall, the 
reservoirs have become completely exhausted, 
and water has had to be brought in from 
the Ganges, 6 miles distant, in trains, and 
the shops thus kept in full work. This is a 
most expensive as well as unsatisfactory 
undertaking. It would seem that the only 
natural source from which a never-failing 
supply could be derived is the river Ganges 
at Monghyr, which is 6 miles distant. 

The following is a list of the shops, with 
a brief description of certain of the most 
important : — 

Steel Foundry. — The institution of a steel- 
making plant was due to the late Loco- 
motive Superintendent of the Railway, 
Mr. A. W. Rendell, and was commenced in 
1898. It then consisted of a 7-ton Siemens 
Martin open hearth furnace. Since then, at 
the suggestion of Mr. Tomyns R. Browne, 
the present Locomotive Superintendent, the 
furnace has been enlarged to a capacity of 
10 tons, and a two-ton Tropenas, converter 
plant has been added ?ot ot\^ es^^vCvw?^. 



DBSCRIPTION OF WORKSHOPS. 247 

Iron Foundry. — This shop is probably one 
of the finest of its kind existing, covering as 
it does a floor area of nearly 100,000 square 
feet. The cupolas are charged from a bank, 
on which material is delivered in trucks on 
the same level as the charging doors. The 
average output of the foundry is 100 tons a 
day of finished castings. The pig iron used 
is chiefly from the Bengal Iron & Steel 
Company of Barakar. There are about 
1,800 employes in this shop, of which a 
portion are coolie women. 

Laboratory. — Close to the Foundries is 
situated the Laboratory, equipped with the 
necessary apparatus for determining the 
quality of metals and other materials, and 
their suitability for the purposes for which 
they are intended. The existence of the 
laboratory, under the supervision of a chemist 
and metallurgist, enables the manufacturing 
departments to be run on scientific and-up-to 
date lines. 

Rolling Mill. — This shop was first started 
in 1879 and consisted of a 10- inch mill. 
Since then it has increased very consider- 
ably and now contains, in addition, a 12-inch 
and 14-inch mill, 3|^-ton steam hammer, a 
fishplate machine, and billet shears. Steam 
for driving the rolling mill engines is gene- 
rated in boilers fixed on the top of the 
furnaces, and heated by the gases from the 
furnaces. The mill turns out the various 
sectioDs of steel and iron tovxeA^, ^«kxnj^^> 



248 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

and angles required in the works, as well as 
fishplates. The outturn is about 400 tons 
a month. 

Erecting and Fitting Shop. — This shop 
consists of three bays and a lean-to, each of a 
total length of 840 ft., and covering an area 
of 149,640 sq. ft. Two bays and the lean-to 
are occupied as erecting shops, while the 
third bay is used as a fitting shop. Each 
erecting shop bay is served with two electric 
overhead cranes of 30-ton capacity each, and 
the fitting shop with a 10-ton crane of same 
design. This shop is probably the finest 
erecting shop in existence. 

Point Crossing and Signal and Interlocking 
Shop. — The work of constructing cross- 
ings and signals was first undertaken 
at Jamalpur in 1894, and at that time a 
small space of the tender shop was sufficient 
for its demands. Such was the rapid in- 
crease of this branch of work, that it very 
shortly necessitated the giving up of the 
whole of the tender shop, which had to be 
removed elsewhere. Lately another signal 
and interlocking shop has had to be added, 
and this branch is now equipped with its 
own machine tools, all operated by electri- 
city, a small smithy with pneumatic hammers, 
etc. The output last year comprised 31 
complete interlocking frames varying in size 
from 4 to 85 levers. 

Machine Shops. — The work is divided into 
two sections, viz., general machine work, and 



JAMALPUR ELBCTRIC SUPPLY. 249 

locomotive machine work, each being accom- 
modated in separate shops, the general 
machine shop covering a space of 49,950 
square feet, and the other 51,615. As far 
as possible, the machines are grouped to avoid 
unnecessary handling of material, and to 
ensure a continuous sequence from roughing 
to finishing. 

The other shops are as follows : — 
Brass Foundry, Forge, Smithy, Pattern, 
Carpenter, Bolt and Nut, Brass Finishing, 
Tin and Coppersmiths', Cold Saw, Chain- 
testing, Wheel, Boiler, Millwright, Paint, 
and Tender Shop. In addition to which 
there is a large Detail Store. 

I will conclude this chapter on Jamalpur 
by a brief description of the introduction of 
electricity into the workshops. The scheme 
for driving the workshops by electricity 
was first put forward when Mr. A. W. 
Rendell was Locomotive Superintendent, and 
the electric power house actually com- 
menced work in 1901. It then consisted of 
three Belliss-Holmes direct-coupled sets, each 
of 100 Kilowatt output. The powerhouse 
is situated centrally with a view to the most 
economic distribution of electric power to 
the various workshops. Later expansion 
has comprised the addition of a 300-kw. 
condensing turbo-generator of the Parson's 
type running at 3,000 revolutions per minute. 
The power is distributed to the shops from 
various service switch paneVa, ^\i\^ ^cs^^^ 



250 HISTORY OF THB K. I. RAILWAY. 

the circuits going to the shops. The elec- 
trical energy conveyed to the shops is trans- 
formed into mechanical power by means of 
electric motors, which are in part arranged 
for driving machine tools, placed in conve- 
nient groups, and in part disposed for indivi- 
dual drives. There are some 25 electrically- 
operated cranes, ranging from 2 to 30 tons 
in lifting capacity, and the motor equipment 
of these, together with the remainder of the 
shop driving, comprise an aggregate of some 
1,500 H.-P. 

Steam at 150lb. pressure per square inch 
is furnished to the generators from a battery 
of fourteen boilers of the Babcock & Wilcox 
type, of which eight are hand and six are 
mechanically fired. Natural draught is fur- 
nished by two steel chimneys, each 120 feet 
high, having a clear diameter of 5 feet 6 
inches. These chimneys were built at Jamal- 
pur, and erected section by section. 

The boundary of the workshops is lighted 
by means of arc lamps, worked firom a Thom- 
son-Houston series arc light machine, which 
in turn is driven by a direct-coupled electric 
motor. An electricity supply to the greater 
part of the Company's houses and buildings, 
including the Mechanics' Institute, is 
afforded from the power house. Current 
for fans and lights in the buildings is sup- 
plied from a ring main, fed at suitable points 
by service feeders. The ring main is supplied 
automatically at coi\^ta!\\» ^xe^^'oxyt^Vs^ xssaaaaa 



JAMALPUR A MODBL MUNICIPALITY. ^51 

of a specially-designed Booster. The distri- 
buting network consists of bare copper aerial 
conductors, carried on steel poles, about 25 
feet above ground level. Each house is fiir- 
nished virith an electricity meter. The pro- 
vision of electric fans and lights adds very 
considerably to the comfort and v^relfare 
of the occupants of the houses during the 
hot weather. 

Much might be said concerning the sanita- 
tion of the station, suflSce to say it is con- 
sidered the model Municipality of Bengal. " 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 
Outbreak of Plague — Immunity of E. I. R. 

FROM SERIOUS ACCIDENTS ^ThE DeLHI 

Durbar — Mr. T. Robertson's enquiry 
INTO Indian Railway Working — Remo- 
val OF Carriage Shops to Lillooah. 

In May 1898 plague first appeared in Cal- 
cutta, and a great panic among the native 
population of the city and suburbs followed. 
This panic was not caused so much by a fear 
of the disease itself as by a fear of the sani- 
tary precautions which it rendered necessary. 
The precautions entailed much that was 
repugnant to the habits and feelings of the 
people of India, and extreme terror fell upon 
the lower classes of the native community, 
apparently due to exaggerated and absurd 
rumours about the nature and stringency of 
the precautionary measures to be taken; 
rumours originating partly in ignorance and 
partly perhaps in malice. Shortly after the 
first outbreak in the metropolis, forty thou- 
sand terror-stricken persons left Calcutta, 
within a few days, by the East Indian Rail- 
way alone ; many fled from the city by other 
routes. As a result no boatmen, carters 
nor coolies were procviTaJcA^, otA ^X* qtcl^ \k\ssA 



PLAGUE AND ACCIDKNT. 253 

over 1,100 wagons of merchandize stood 
under load at Howrah, because of the impossi- 
bihty of procuring labour to discharge them. 
It speaks well for the loyalty and devotion 
to duty of the subordinate Railway Staff that 
not a single man left his post, though many 
succumbed to the disease, and there were 
outside agitators trying their utmost to 
provoke a strike. Various means have been 
adopted by the Government of India to pre- 
vent the spread of plague and to stamp it 
out, but so far these have met with little 
success. For some years all railway passen- 
gers were subjected to medical examination 
at different stations on the line, where plague 
camps were established, but this system 
effected no good and was most unpopular, so 
was abandoned. Plague has in fact unfor- 
tunately continued in India since 1898 to the 
present day, and unhappily there are as yet 
no indications of its disappearing. 

The East Indian Railway has been remark- 
ably immune from accident, but one of the 
most extraordinary occurred on the 29th of 
June 1902. A mixed train proceeding vid 
the loop line was blown over by a tornado 
in the vicinity of Rampore H^t Station and 
thirteen passengers were killed and fifteen 
wounded. That the number was not far 
greater, seeing that practically the whole 
train was wrecked and that there were some 
300 passengers in it; was due to the fact 
that the wind brought the engine \)0 %. ^\»xA 



254 HISTORY OF THE K. I. RAILWAY. 

before the vehicles were overthrown. Strange 
to say a very similar accident had occurred 
on the East Indian Railway some thirty 
years previously and very near the same 
place ; in both cases the surrounding country 
was an open plain, the lines of the railway 
being laid on a slight embankment, about five 
feet high, with nothing whatever to break the 
force of the wind. Both these accidents 
were what is termed " acts of God "; serious 
accidents due to negligence or carelessness 
on the part of the staff have been rare and 
when they have occurred, there has fortu- 
nately been but little loss of life. Seeing 
that until very recently all points were 
worked by menials, there being practically 
no interlocking, this speaks well for the 
native staff. 

In January 1903 a grand Durbar was held 
in Delhi in honour of the Coronation of His 
Majesty the King-Emperor of India. It 
was in November 1901 that the intention to 
hold an Imperial Durbar was first publicly 
announced, the railway had therefore little 
more than a year in which to prepare for the 
great accession of traffic it would have to carry 
in connection. The Delhi Station had to be 
completely remodelled, subsidiary lines and 
stations in the vicinity had to be constructed, 
the coaching stock, particularly the higher 
class, had to be augmented, the staff strength- 
ened, their accommodation arranged for, and 
many questions o^ di^Xi^S^. \\aA. V^ W worked 



THE DBLHl DURBAR. 255 

out and settled beforehand. The East 
Indian Railway had often felt the strain of a 
heavy goods traffic ; on this occasion the 
experience was to be of a totally different 
character, for though it is true that the rush 
of goods to Delhi before the Durbar caused 
a block, which there was considerable difficulty 
in clearing, the real difficulty was to provide 
stock in which to carry the higher class 
passengers, all of whom wanted to arrive 
and leave at the same time. To give some 
idea of the passenger traffic, it may be men- 
tioned that in an ordinary month about four 
hundred first and second class passengers 
are carried by the East Indian Railway 
to Delhi; during the Durbar over twelve 
thousand had to be conveyed there within a 
few days, while the stock available was little 
more than sufficient to meet ordinary 
requirements. Fortunately a solution of the 
problem occurred to Mr. W. A. Dring, the 
General Traffic Manager. There were ready 
at the time the Durbar was announced, some 
bogie frames intended for the construction of 
lower class stock, and it was decided to alter 
certain of these for temporary use as sleeping 
cars, for higher class passengers. This step 
saved the situation. Had no additional 
stock been arranged for, it would have been 
impossible to deal with the traffic; practically 
no carriages could be hired from other 
railways, all were too busy themselves to 
lend any to the East IndiMk, %.Tv'ii\\»^^^'^^ 



256 HISTORY OF THK K. I. RAILWAY. 

the East Indian that the heaviest strain fell. 
The Englishman newspaper gauged the 
difficulty in a leader published on the 1st 
December 1902, and the following extract is 
taken from it : — 

" The forthcoming Durbar at Delhi will be the biggest 
thing of it8 kind that India has ever seen. It will be 
attended by His Excellency the Viceroy, H. R. H. the Duke 
of Con naught an^ seventeen Governors, Lieutenant- 
Governors, Residents and Agents to the Governor-General, 
Chief Commissioners and other high British officials, fifty- 
four ruling Chiefs invited by His Excellency the Viceroy, 
and fifty ruling chiefs invited by Local Governments and 
Administrations, in addition to numerous titled native 
gentlemen and crowds of European guests and visitors from 
all parts of India. Most of the notabilities require special 
trains, many of them also require special trains for their 
guests and followers, and nearly everyone else wants special 
accommodation of some kind or another. Besides this the 
traffic in tents, camp equipage, horses and carriage will be 
immense, while the large army collected in Delhi and the 
vicinity means the transport by railway of vast supplies of 
all sorts. The magnitude of the traffic can hardly be 
appreciated, and seeing that a large proportion has to be 
carried over a lead of many hundred miles, it is not surprising 
that the Indian railways are confronted with difficulties 
and find it impossible to avoid congestion." 

In his Report on the Durbar traffic the 
Officiating General Traffic Manager re- 
marked : — 

" It is hardly necessary to say that the Durbar traffic was 
unique and without precedent in Indian Railway working, 
for the Durbar of 1877 bears no comparison with it. It 
was recognised from the first that we had before us a task 
bristling with difficulties, and that the special class of 
traffic we would have to deal with would strain our 
resources to the utmost." 

That all obstacles were overcome in the 
end without any s>er\o\x^ \Y\\,ci\i ^\A Nq\!OcL<^\i;fc ^ 



EFFECT OF THE DUBBAB. 257 

single accident of any kind was more attri- 
buteble to the personal exertions of the staff 
than to any facilities that were, or could 
possibly be afforded for the purpose. 
Crowding and some delay were inevitable, 
and the difficulty of preventing these was 
enhanced by the awkward and confined 
situation of the Delhi main station, into 
which most of the traffic had perforce to be 
brought. 

One great result of the Durbar was that 
the remodelling of Delhi Station, which had 
long been contemplated, was materially has- 
tened, while many lessons were learnt which 
should prove useful on a future occasion of 
a similar kind ; but it is evident that Indian 
Railways, having ordinarily but a compara- 
tively very small upper class traffic to convey, 
will never be in a position to meet a great 
demand of this nature without difficulty. 
Commenting on the Durbar traffic General 
Sir Richard Strachey said to the share- 
holders : — 

" The general effect of the great assemblage at Delhi on 
the traffic has been of doubtful advantage, the benefit 
derived from the increased receipts of the higher classes of 
passengers having been to no small extent counteracted by 
necessary increased expenditure in various directions. 
It may be frankly admitted that Indian railways are not 
adapted to cope with sudden and large demands for in- 
creased accommodation for the higher classes of passengers, 
and that it is on the third class, which provides nineteen- 
twentieths of the numbers carried and four-fifths of the 
receipts that the prosperity of this branch of the traffic 
depends. I may add that it is for its develoi^m^\i^ vcA 
convenience that our attention Bhou\& be tii^^d^^ ^ax^^Xft^^^ 

BIB W 



2S58 HISTORY OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

Towards the close of 1901, Mr. Thomas 
Robertson, C.V.O., was deputed by the 
Secretary of State for India — 

(1) To enquire into and report upon the administration 
and working of Indian rail way a, whether controlled by 
the State or by Companies, with special reference to the 
system under which they should be managed in India in 
the future ; 

(2) To report upon the feasibility of a systematic plan 
of railway development in India, to be worked up to by 
the Qovemment over a series of years ; 

(3) To advise as to the management and development 
of the traffic, the convenience of the public and the im- 
provement of the revenue, and 

(4) Generally to make such suggestions as he might think 
useful for any or all of these purposes* including the exten- 
sion of branches and light railways as feeders of the main 
line. 

Mr. Robertson's report was issued in 1903, 
after he had travellea extensively over the 
Indian railways and investigated their general 
working and administration, and after he had 
visited America to study the methods of 
railway management there. 

Mr. Robertson's general conclusion was 
that the "working of the Indian railways 
cannot be regarded as at all satisfactory," 
and that root and branch reform was needed ; 
" if," he said, " the railways of India are to 
render that full and efficient service to the 
country of which they are capable, they must 
be permitted to be worked more as conmaer- 
cial enterprises than they have been in the 
past." 

Mr. Robertson's report dealt in some detail 
with various questions of administration and 
working, criticised moxe ^^x\k^\iXaxl^ the 



KBPORT OF MR. T. ROBERTSON, C.V.O. 259 

Government system of control and recom- 
mended its replacement by a Board composed 
of specially qualified railway men, who should 
be allowed to manage railway affairs entirely 
on commercial lines. Mr. Robertson also 
made certain suggestions as to the organisa- 
tion of departments, salaries of officials and 
Home Board control. He compared State 
with Company management and advocated ' 
the transference of all lines to Companies. 
He dealt with the question of finance and 
commented upon railway working generally, 
making several proposals and suggestions, 
which will no doubt be given the considera- 
tion they deserve by the Board of Control 
since appointed by the Government of India. 
General Sir Richard Strachey made some in- 
teresting remarks on Mr. Robertson's report, 
which are here reproduced. Speaking at the 
general meeting held in June 1903, he said: — 

"It will be of interest to you to know that the Govern- 
ment of India has published the report on the working of 
Indian railways, specially drawn up by Mr. Robertson, 
under the instructions of the Secretary of State, and has 
distributed copies to the various Eailway Companies, 
apparently with the view of inviting opinion on the 
recommendations made in the report. I consequently feel 
in a measure bound to refer to it. While recognising that 
there is much in the report with which everyone conversant 
with the subject is likely to agree, and disclaiming any 
disposition to dogmatise on questions of administration, 
which no doubt involve many very complicated considera- 
tions, I may briefly state my personal conclusion that in 
this case, as in many others, it has been easier to point to 
defects than to suggest adequate remedies. That in some 
directions the system of Government «i^T£i\\i\%\.\^Xlv^\i TSiss:^ 
be Improved I regard as indispvitabVe. 1 iwW-^' ^QtL<sv« ^'vO«v 



260 HIBTORT OF THB E. I. BAILWAT. 

the report in describing the existing system of administra- 
tion as ' cumbrous machinery, which is apt to impair the 
sense of re8ix>n8ibility, crush iDitiative, check progress 
and delay business to an extent which would be fatal to any 
other commercial enterprise.' Nor have I any difficulty in 
iiocepting the view that this is largely due to the fact that 
' the administrative head of the department, namely, the 
member in charge of the Public Works Portfolio, has never 
had any previous training in railway working and manage- 
ment.' It might have been added that so far from tne 
selection of this member of the (Government being at 
present made on a consideration of any special aptitude for 
the discharge of his responsible duties, it is unaerstood to 

. be determined by some supposed established claim of the 
senior members of the Civil Service of the three old 
Presidencies of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay to obtain seats 
in the Oovernor-GeneraPs Ck>uncil by a system of rotation.' 
In one of Lord Bosebery's recent speeches he remarked, 
when referring to the government of this country by 
Cabinets, * that it works well on the whole is a tribute, 
less to the institution itself than to the capacity of our 
race to make any conceivable institution succeed.' With 
some hesitation as to the character of the results of the 
Government control of Indian railways, I think his remarks 
will well apply to it also. 

At the same time, it appears impossible to deny that, 
notwithstanding what I am prepared to call very glaring 
defects, the general result of the treatment of railways in 
India considering the many serious difficulties that have 
been encountered, financial and administrative, has been 
remarkable, and the development of the present system of 
railways, extending to 26,000 miles, is highly creditable to 
those through whose exertions such a large measure of 
success has been obtained. I am therefore unable to accept, 
as justified by the actual results, the sweeping assertion of 
the report, that Hhe present administration and working 
of the Indian railways cannot be regarded as at all satis- 
factory,' nor that *root and branch reform alone will be 
productive of lasting good.' I see no reason for thinking 
that thoroughly qualified persons with adequate Indian 
experience may not be found to be entrusted with the 
management of the Public Works Department in India, 
in all its branches, as has been the case in all other branches 
of the administration, and in those cases has had the result 
of making Indian administration the admiration of all 
who have a real knowVedge oi -wha^t it ia^ and the difficulties 

it has to overcome. 



chairman's views on MR. ROBERTSON'S REPORT. 261 

The discussionB that have taken place during the past 
year in this country aa to the general character of English 
railway management, have not had the effect of showing 
satisfactorily any verv remarkable superiority that it may 
possess over that of other countries, and this 1 am didposed 
to extend to India. I am unable to admit, for instance, that 
the management of a railway like the East Indian, which, 
mile for mile, carries without difficulty about eight times 
the number of passengers carried by the Illinois Central of 
the United States of America, and almost the same quan* 
tity of goods, and at rates not higher, with a net yearly 
profit to the Government, which owns the line, of some- 
thing like a million sterling, after paying all charges for 
interest, and supplying a contribution of upwards of 
£400,000 towards the redemption of the original capital 
outlay, can be properly spoken of as calling for root and 
branch reform. I am, therefore, unable to see that the 
substitution of a body of English railway experts, with no 
knowledge of Indian conditions, is at all likely to supply 
what is wanted to produce satisfactory management of 
Indian railways, or tnat this is not to be obtained from 
persons trained in India itself. 

I venture to say that the fundamental defects of the 
methods of control adopted by the Government of India 
arise from the inherent character of its bureaucratic organi- 
sation, which leads to a centralised system of intervention, 
extending to the smallest details of management, carried 
out through officials who are in many cases less competent 
to deal with the business in hand than those whose actions 
£iiey control. It is, however, hardly possible to avoid the 
conclusion that the conditions of the contracts that exist 
between the Secretary of State and the Companies entrusted 
with the working of railways in India, render some such 
general system as that now in existence for the purpose of 
authorising expenditure essential, and so far as I am able 
to form an opinion, the objectionable friction that has often 
arisen in the case of this Company, to which alone my know- 
ledge in this matter extends, has been caused by the mis- 
chievous tendency of the superior officers of the Government, 
to interfere with the discretion of the officers of the Com- 
pany, rather than from the initiative of the consulting 
engineers, who communicate directly with the Company's 
officers, and are naturally animated by the spirit of their 
superiors 

On this subject I will further only add that I can call to 
mind no case in which, in my judgment^ b»a ^Via <^<^N«cck.- 
ment control, in recent timea at a\\ ^vwi\.%^ ^iwAxi^^^^^a 



262 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

* prevent extravagance in construction, and subsequent 
waste in maintenance and working.' On the contrary, in 
many cases it has certainly led to results the reverse of this, 
by causing the postponement of works the construction of 
which might, with great advantage, have been taken up 
earlier, and by being distributed over a longer period have 
reduced the eventual pressure, financial and executive, 
which the growing urgent need of improvements has even- 
tually rendered inevitable. Of the parts of the report that 
deal with questions of technical railway working, I do not 
think that I can usefully say more than that it is impossible 
to treat Indian railways as though they were all alike in 
their condition, and that to attempt to discuss details of 
this description on an occasion such as the present is out of 
the question, even if I were competent to offer opinions as 
to lines with the condition of which I have no specific 
knowledge. " 

Since these remarks were made, the Rail- 
waj^ Board has been formed and now rules 
the destinies of the Kailways in India. 

Ill 1900 the work of removing the carriage 
and w^agon building shops of the undertaking 
from Howrah to Lillooah was commenced. 
The move became necessary because of the 
cramped accommodation at Howrah, and 
because of the entry of the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railwaj^ into that terminus ; but while the 
move was being effected the work of the 
Dejmrtment naturally fell into arrears and 
when this happens it takes time to make up 
for lost way. Since then the construction 
of a new station for the joint use of the 
East Indian and Bengal-Nagpur Railways 
hjis been started and the portion so far sanc- 
tioned by the Government is now well on 
its way towards completion. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

The East Indian Railway under 
Two Chairmen. 

It has been said that the East Indian 
Railway has only had two Chairmen. As 
a matter of fact this is literally true, for the 
railway came into existence some years 
later than the Company, and though the 
Company has had four, the railway has only 
had two — Mr. Robert Wi^ram Crawford 
was appointed in 1854, immediately after the 
first section of the line had been opened for 
traffic, and when he died, in 1889, General 
Sir Richard Strachey succeeded him. 

Mr. Crawford became Chairman of the 
Company at a time when, started as an 
experimental line, experience of the needs 
of the country and of trade requirements had 
to be gained by degrees ; there was nothing 
to show what the possibilities were. Untu 
trains actually began to run there were 
doubts whether the natives of India would 
travel by rail ; until the railway was car- 
ried into the Raneegunge coal-field, Indian 
coal was practically unknown. It is true 
that before the days of railways, a certain 
quantity was brought down the Damoodar 
River from Raneegunge to Calcut 



264 HISTORY OF THB B. L RAILWAY. 

that, even up to the year 1859, the Bengal 
Coal Company were still boating coal, because 
the railway charges were too costly and 
the wagon stock insufficient ; but this could 
only have been possible for a few months in 
the year, and profitable only when English 
coal was very scarce. Yet the fact remains 
that for several years after the opening of the 
railroad, the Bengal Coal Company found 
it necessary to employ a fleet of some 1,500 
boats to bring their coal to market. Surely 
there could be no better proof than this of the 
unpreparedness of the railway to carry the 
traffic offering when it first opened, although 
it is recorded that in 1855 the railway " had 
contracted to convey 100,000 tons of coal 
from Raneegunge to Calcutta." 

The export of grain and seeds from India to 
Europe was, at the time the railway opened, 
nominal, and whatever was exported came to 
the port by river. A trade in some items, 
which are now included among the principal 
staples carried, such as potatoes or Kerosme 
oil, did not exist ; cotton was the traffic which 
was expected to rank first in importance. " I 
go," said Lord Dalhousie on his appointment 
as Viceroy of India in 1847, "not to make 
wars but to send cotton home." India was 
behind all countries in which railroads had 
been constructed ; Jamaica was the only 
place distant from Europe that could be 
pointed to as a precedent for the existence 
of a railway ; it ^aa a\» aw^ Ta\i^ >2ol^ ^\Jc^ 



NBED FOB RAILROAD 8T8TBM. 265 

place in which a railway existed, that was at 
all ou a parallel with India. Had the East 
Indian Bailway been completed to Delhi 
within ten years of the formation of the 
Company in 1845, as indeed it might well 
have been, if it had not been for the time lost 
in controversy and especially in coming to 
a final decision as to the route to be followed, 
the Indian Mutmy would have assumed a 
very diflferent aspect. As it was it took so 
long to settle details that only the short 
length to Raneegunge had been constructed 
when the Mutiny broke out ; yet even this 
short length proved of the greatest advan- 
tage to GU)vemment in helping forward 
troops and stores to the front. 

Fortunately there were some far-seeing 
people who realized and insisted that there 
was in the construction of railways in India, 
even more than their strategic importance, 
even more than the primary idea of connec- 
ting the seat of the Supreme Government 
with the North- West Provinces. There 
were those, in short, who had the foresight 
and wisdom to see, that the development of 
the immense resources of the country could 
only be successfully efltected by the introduc- 
tion of a railroad system, and to believe with 
Lord Macaulay that, " excepting only the in- 
ventions of the alphabet and the printing 
press, none had done so much for the moral 
and intellectual progress of man as thoa^ 
which abridge aistaBce aiA \tk^\^n^ *^^ 



266 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

means of communication." There was at 
least some truth in what a shareholder in the 
East Indian Railway remarked at the first 
meeting of the Board : " Railways would do 
more towards the civilization of India in 
seven years than all the missionaries ^ had 
done in 200 years." But on the other hand 
there were many who held contrary views, 
and in the end the East Indian Railway was 
only sanctioned in part as an " experimental " 
line. 

Among the pioneers of the East Indian 
Railway, the names of Mr. Crawford and 
Mr. Macdonald Stephenson will always be 
remembered. Both of them were associated 
with the undertaking from its inception ; 
they were among the most prominent of 
those by whose exertions railways were 
first introduced into India. It was to Mr. 
Stephenson that the first steps in the cons- 
truction and management of the East Indian 
Railway were entrusted, and his connection 
continued until 1892, when, owing to ad- 
vanced age, he retired. Sir Macdonald 
Stephenson died shortly after his services 
with the Company were severed, and General 
Sir Richard Strachey, in referring to his 
death, remarked : " It does not fall to the 
lot of many to find their anticipations of 
success so fully realized as that achieved by 
the great undertaking, to the initiation of 
which Sir Macdonald Stephenson's per- 
severance and energy ^o\ot^<^^ ciQ\\\,T^\i^'^^\ 



MR. CRAWFORD AS CHAIRMAN. 267 

and .the share he had in that result should 
always be remembered by those, who, like 
ourselves, are carrying on the work in which 
he so long participated." 

To Mr. Crawford, however, must be given 
the credit for conducting the aflfairs of the 
Railway, not only up to the time of its 
purchase by Government, but for some nine 
years afterwards. Mr. Crawford had many 
difficulties to contend with, many obstacles 
to overcome, but he met them always with 
a sanguine mind and a perfect faith in ul- 
timate success. If anything can be urged 
against Mr. Crawford, it was perhaps that 
he failed to realize, to its fullest extent, the 
part the railway should take in developing 
traffic. Rather than boldly reduce the coal 
tariflf, Mr Crawford seemed to think that 
the East Indian Railway collieries could 
supply the railroads of India with fuel and 
that other collieries would develop of their 
own accord ; while a reduction in third class 
fares was only introduced after the Govern- 
ment insisted on the measure. Still it must 
not be forgotten that, in those days, the first 
question of a railway man, in regrard to any 
item of traffic was " what freight will it bear" 
instead of ''at what cost can we carry it," 
and it is only natural that Mr. Crawford 
should have approached such problems with 
caution, though none knew better than he, 
the capabilities of the East Indian Railway 
to make a profit out oi y^t^ \o^ ^x^v^ci^^ 



268 mSTORT OF THB B. I. RAILWAT. 

Then again, Mr. Crawford saw the traffic 
growing far more rapidly than the facilities 
of the railway, and there is Uttle doubt that 
he was greatly handicapped by want of funds 
for improvements ; the difficulties he had to 
contend with were in fact enormous. Almost 
at the outset ot his career as Chairman, the 
outbreak of the mutiny in India may well 
have caused a panic among the shareholders 
in London, yet Mr. Crawford allayed their 
fears, by making a simple statement of the 

Ksition, at a time when his heart must have 
en filled with knowledge that might have 
made the boldest quail. " The chief loss," 
he said, " will be that arising from the tem- 
porary stoppage of the principal portion of 
the works, and the consequent delay in their 
completion." These words were spoken 
within four months of the massacre at 
Cawnpore, where the blood of nearly all the 
East Indian Railway Engineers, engaged on 
the construction of the part of the line 
adjacent to that city, had been* shed,* at a 
time of upheaval of the whole of India, 
and at a time when the Company's afiairs in 
this country must have been in a state of 
chaos. 

Mr. Crawford was Chairman of the Board 
of Directors from 1854 to 1889, and during 
these 35 years the gross receipts of the 
undertaking rose from a nominal sum to over 



IN0BBA8E TO MILBAQB OPEN. 269 

four and a half crores of rupees in a year. 
During the next fourteen years, General Sir 
Richard Strachey saw a far more rapid 
development ; the earnings rose to over four 
crores of rupees in half a year, and to nearly 
eight crores in a year. 

When General Strachey succeeded Mr. 
Crawford as Chairman, the East Indian Kail- 
way controlled 1,626 miles. During the 
preceding ten years there had practically 
been no Edition to the length of line worked ; 
want of funds had prevented extensions, if 
indeed their importance had been thoroughly 
recognised. The imdertaking had, as a 
matter of fact, remained in a state of torpor ; 
from the time the Chord line was completed, 
it had not made any real progress. It is 
true that its traffic had continued to grow, 
but the growth, viewed in the light of what 
followed, had been very gradual, and in 
regard to improvements only the most urgent 
and pressing needs had been provided for. 

During the next fifteen years, the mileage 
worked increased to 2,24 Ij miles, while at 
their close the Grand Chord line, the 
Shikohabad-Farrukabad extension (since 
completed), the Ondal-Sainthea Chord, the 
Khurja-Hapur branch and Bhagulpur-Bausi 
Railway, each in itself a considerable under- 
taking, were all under construction. Mr. 
Crawford's period of Chairmanship marked 
the completion of an idea. General Sir 
Richard Strachey's teuxMce Tc^it^^ «s>l 



270 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

extension of that idea, an extension, such as 
had not entered into the conception of the 
originators of the railway. 

In the year 1889 when General Strachey 
became Chairman of the East Indian Rail- 
way, the Government share of the surplus 
profits wasRs. 33,25,385, and the Company's 
share Rs. 9,44,812. In 1904, the Govern- 
ment share amounted to Rs. 1,88,99,860, and 
the Company's 'share to Rs. 21,05,027. 
The terms of the contract under which the 
Company works the railway for the Gov- 
ernment have, during the Chairmanship of 
General Sir Richard Strachey, been made 
far more favourable to Government, still the 
dividend to the shareholders, or, as they now 
are, the Deferred Annuitants, is greater 
than it was in 1889, although, be it remem- 
bered, the rate of exchange is lower. In 
1889, when General Strachey became Chair- 
man, with exchange at more than l-dd. per 
rupee, the dividend paid was £5-0-6, per 
cent, in 1904 with exchange at l-4d. the 
dividend was £6-2-0. per cent. It is 
doubtful whether in the world's history an 
undertaking of such magnitude as the East 
Indian Railway has proved so great a success, 
both financially and otherwise. The capital 
outlay on the East Indian Railway Company 
which was in 1850 three millions sterling, rose 
by the end of 1904 to more than thirty- 
three and a half millions sterling, and so large 
are the additioiva iio\? \>^\w^ \s\^$iL^. \a ^3^^. 



DIFFICLLTY IN OBTAINING FUNDS. 271 

locomotive and rolling stock, and so great is 
the cost of the additions and improvements to 
way and works, to stations and buildings, to 
the Company's collieries, workshops and so 
forth, which are constantly being carried out, 
that the half-yearly outlay on capital account 
has for some years been about five hundred 
thousand pounds. The staff has been greatly 
augmented, and the Traffic Department in 
particular has recently been reorganized. In 
a word, no effort has been spared in making 
the East Indian foremost of all railways in 
India, while it retains the unique position of 
being the cheapest worked line of its size in 
the world. 

The difficulty of obtaining funds for the 
construction of extensions, for additions to 
rolling stock, and for the improvement of 
facilities generally, has been one of the 
greatest with which General Sir Richard 
Strachey has had to contend during his 
Chairmanship. As he remarked in 1890 : 
"The fact that the sum allowed for the coming 
year for capital outlay is restricted to three 
lakhs, and granted with the admonition that 
if possible less is to be spent, is an illustra- 
tion of this position. I must be allowed to 
say that such a grant for a railway extending 
over 1,500 miles and representing a capit^ 
of about 50 crores of rupees, is hardly more 
than illusory. " 

It was not until 1897 that the funds avail- 
able for capital expenditure ^exe «oSvssv^\j^ 



272 HI8T0BT OF THB B. I. RAILWAY. 

to render anything like active progresb 
possible. The Moghalsarai-Gya line, with 
the branch to Daltongunge was then under- 
taken, as a first instalment of the Grand 
Chord. In the succeeding five years there 
was an average yearly capital outlay of 157 
lakhs of rupees, all of which was devoted to 
construction, to additional engines and rolling 
stock, and to improvements on the line, 
including station buildings, staff quarters, 
workshops and other permanent works. But 
as before indicated, from 1880 to 1890 the 
capital outlay had been nominal, the East 
Indian Railway had been allowed to remain 
in a condition of torpor. All this had to be 
remedied and it was General Sir Richard 
Strachey who had to find the remedy. 

When General Strachey became Chair- 
man, the experimental stage had passed 
away, the success of the railway had become 
assured. It remained to him to develop 
what had been created, to make the progress 
of the future worthy of the success of the 
past. There are few who will dispute that 
his policy in reducing rates, particularly the 
coal rates, his great foresight, and unique 
knowledge of detail, added to his vast ex- 
perience and intimate connection with India, 
have in no small measure contributed to the 
immense development of traffic which has 
taken place in the last few years. 

It was of him that his brother wrote : 
^' There are, in. iw^ \>^\<$S., l^^ \s\s^ living 



GBNL. SIR R. STRACHBY. 273 

who have done so much, often in ways un- 
known to the outside world, for the improve- 
ment of Indian administration. It is to 
him that India owes the initiation of that 
great pohey of the systematic extension of 
railways and canals which has been crowned 
with such extraordinary success, which has 
increased to an incalculable extent the wealth 
of the country, and has profoundly altered 
its condition. To him is due the conception 
of those measures of financial and adminis- 
trative decentralisation which have had 
the most far-reaching consequences, and 
which were pronounced by Sir Henry Maine 
to be by far the greatest and most successful 
reforms carried out in India in his time. To 
his active support is largely due the initia- 
tion of the measures, which have proved 
of the highest value, for preventing the 
destruction of the Indian forests, and for 
their scientific protection and management. 
He it was who first organised the great 
Department of Public Works, and laid the 
foundations of the scientific study of Indian 
meteorology. He was the first, many years 
ago, to advise that reform of the currency 
which has now been carried out and the delay 
of which has involved India in incalculable 
loss."* 

It may not be out of place here to relate 
a short story about General Sir Kichard 

* " India, its Administration and 'Pxo^Te«&^^'' \r5 '^x^ ^^Jwa. 
Strachey. 

H, SIR V^ 



274 HISTORY OF THE B. I. RAILWAY. 

Strachey. When he took to Lord Lawrence 
for signature, the great despatch on the 
policy of the Government borrowing largely 
for reproductive public works, of which of 
course he had written every word himself. 
Lord Lawrence put his " L " to the foot of 
it, and as he laid down his pen looked at 
General Strachey with a grin and said 
" They will think me very clever. " So, 
indeed, would many be thought who could 
sign, as their own, despatches written by the 
hand of the Chairman of the East Indian 
Railway. 

These remarks would be very incomplete 
without a word of reference to one, who has 
been intimately associated with the under- 
taking for the past fifty years, and still 
retains his close connection with all its 
affairs ; one who may indeed be regarded as 
the doyen of the Railway Company and the 
right-hand man of both its Chairmen ; I refer 
to Sir Alexander Rendel, the Company's 
Consulting Engineer. 

Part only of Sir Alexander Rendel's 
work is referred to in this volume, it would 
form a history in itself to detail it in full, 
but if asked to point to the most important 
measure introduced by him (in conjunction 
with General Strachey, years before he be- 
came Chairman of the East Indian Railway), 
I would mention railway statistics. Un- 
doubtedly these were initiated by him and 
afterwards became a tclo^^) n^wsJ^^ ^obAfc 



THE STAFF IN INDIA. 275 

to the proper conduct of railways and the 
chief basis for economies in working. 

Just one word more. It is the administra- 
tive and executive staff in India who have 
to bear the heat and burden of the day, and 
the Board of Directors have never had cause 
to regret the confidence they have invariably 
placed in the loyal support and co-operation 
of the workers in India. From the humble 
porter to the Agent of the Company, every 
servant of the railway has a task to fulfil ; 
each day brings its round of toil, a difficulty 
to be overcome, possibly a danger to be facecL 
The part taken by its employes in this coun- 
try, in furthering the success of the great 
undertaking cannot be minimised, and Doth 
Chairmen have been among the first to 
recognise this. Long may it be so, for such 
recognition is as well deserved now as it was 
in the early days, when the Government of 
India lost no opportunity of eulogising the 
work done by the servants of the Company, 
though similar work done now is often re- 
garded as a matter of course. 



APPENDIX A. 



List of Agents or Chairmen of Board of Agency. 



Names, 

Mr. B. Macdonald Stephenson 
„ Edward Palmer 
„ Cecil Stephenson ... 

Sir Bradford Leslie, e.ci.b. 

Mr. D. W. Campbell, o.i.B. 

Col. R. Gardiner, r.b. . . . 

Mr. James Douglas 



Term of Service, 

1853—1857 

. 1857—1873 

. 1873—1875 

1876—1887 

, 1887—1891 

1891—1899 

1899— ... 



Secretaries to Agent. 



Names, 
Mr. Cecil Stephenson . . . 
„ T. Lovelock 
„ W.H.Russell 
„ P. Wagstaflf 
„ H.Wood 

Chief Engineers. 

Names, 
Mr. G. TurnbuU 
„ S. Power 
„*G. Sibley 
„ Sir B. Leslie, K.C.I.B.... 
„ C. H. Denham 
„ F. E. Robertson, c.i.e. 
„ E. H. Stone 
„ C. F. Findlay 
„ R. S. Highet 



Term of Semioe* 

1858—1865 
1866—1872 
1872—1878 
1878—1900 
1900— ... 



Term of Sertrioe, 
1850—1863 
1863-1868 
1862—1876 
1876—1882 
1882—1889 
1889—1897 
1897—1903 
1903—1903 
1903— ... 



• From 1862 to 1868 he was Ohiei l^iiftm«QT^ \Jvvw ^^^-hvbrr^^ 
with head-qu&rtera at Allahabad. 



278 appendix. 

Chibf Auditors. 

Names. Term of Service. 

Mr. Rob Roberts ... ... 1863—1877 

„ R. C.S.Mackenzie... ... 1877—1892 

„ J.Douglas ... ... 1893—1899 

„ T. Bashford ... ... 1899— ... 

Genbral Traffic Managers. 

Names, Term of Service, 

Mr. F. Cox ... ... 1858-1859 

„ J. C. Batchelor* ... ... 1860—1879 

„ N. St. L. Carter ... ... 1879—1891 

„ J. M. Rutherford ... ... 1891—1897 

„ W. A. Dring ... ... 1897—... 

* Mr. Batchelor took charge of the entire line from Ist Janu- 
ary 1886. Before this Mr. B. P. W. Smvth was Traffic Manager, 
Allahabad, and Mr. Batchelor was Traffic Manager, Howrah. 

Locomotive Supbrintbndents. 

Names. Term of Service. 

Mr. J. Hodgson ... ... 1855—1857 

„ Lingard Stokes ... ... 1857—1863 

„ D.W.Campbell ... ... 1863—1887 

„ J. Strachan ... ... 1887—1890 

„ A. W. Rendell ... ... 1890—1901 

„ T.R.Browne ... ... 1901—... 

Mr. P. D. NichoU was Locomotive Superintendent, Upper 
Provinces, with head-quarters at AUahabad, before Mr. D. W. 
Campbell. 

Carriage and Wagon Superintendents. 

Names. Term of Service. 

Mr. R. W. Pearce ... ... 1862—1889 

„ Richard Pearce ... ... 1889—1898 

„ T.R.Brown ... ... 1899—1901 

„ H. K. Bamber,M,v.o. .,- V^ViV— ... 



APPBNDIX. 279 

CoLLiBRY Superintendents. 

Names, . Term of Service. 

Mr. J. F. Cockburn (Resdt. Engr.) ... 1859—1871 

„ T. E. Dunn ... .... 1871—1876 

„ I. J. Whitty ... ... 1876—1879 

„ R. H. Abbatt ... ... 1879—1880 

„ W. G.Olpherts ... ... 1880—1881 

„ Dr. W. Saise ... ... 1881—1905 

„ T. H. Ward ... ... 1905— ... 

In 1863 the mining operations in the Giridih colliery havine 
been suspended, all establishment was reduced to tiiat required 
to guara the property, till a suitable branch railway was 
established. 

Chief Medical Officers. 

Names. Term oj Service. 

Mr. R. G. Griffith ... ... 1893—1902 

„ J. S. Brooke ... ... 1902— ... 

Heads of Store Department. 

Names. Term of Service. 
Mr. T. P. Campbell (General Store- 
keeper) ... ... 1858—1860 

„ D.Murray (Do.) 1860—1862 
A. C. Bell (Principal Store-keeper) 1863—1864 
„ G. H. W. Conroy (Chief Store- 
keeper) ... ... 1864—1883 

* J. Gates (Controller of Stores) . . . 1883—1898 

]' W. Humphries Do. .,. 1898—1902 

,. T.A.White Do 1903— ... 

* From 18B6 the designation was changed to Controller of 
Stores. 



APPENDIX B. 



The following is a copy of the Inscription on the 
Memorial Tablet in Cawnpore Church : — 

TO THE MEMORY OF THE ENGINEERS 

IN THE SERVICE OF THE EAST 

INDIAN RAILWAY COMPANY, 

WHO DIED, AND WERE KILLED, IN THE GREAT 
INSURRECTION OP 1867. 

John Hodgson, Locomotive Superintendent, died 
AT Allahabad, June 21st. 

R. N. Mantell, District Engineer, died at 
Allahabad, June 30th. 

A. M. M. Miller, Resident Engineer, killed 
at Cawnpore, June 27th. 

A. C. Heberdbn, Resident Engineer, killed at 
Cawnpore, June 27th. 

W. DiGGES LaTouche, Assistant Engineer, killed 
AT Cawnpore, June 27th. 

Robert Hanna, Assistant Engineer, killed at 
Cawnpore, June 27th. 

J. C. Bayne, Assistant Engineer, killed at 
Cawnpore, June 27th. 

Thomas Byrne, Assistant Engineer, died at 
Calcutta, iv^\n.